Public urged to heighten vigilance for rubella, seek immediate medical attention when symptoms develop

 If a pregnant woman who has no rubella antibodies becomes infected with rubella during early pregnancy, there is a chance she will pass the infection to her unborn child, according to Taiwan CDC. 

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) said Wednesday that the agency has traced the contacts of a confirmed rubella case and found none of them had developed any suspected symptoms.

On March 29, Taiwan CDC announced this year’s first imported rubella case in a 38-year-old foreign worker who resides in southern Taiwan. Based on the case’s activity and exposure history during the incubation period, it is determined that the case acquired his infection in Indonesia, according to the agency.

According to the domestic surveillance data compiled by Taiwan CDC, thus far this year, a cumulative total of 1 imported rubella case has been confirmed. During 2015 and 2017, a cumulative total of 14 measles cases were confirmed in Taiwan, including 5 indigenous cases and 9 imported cases.

Over 95% of the citizens in Taiwan have had the infection or been vaccinated against the disease and most infected individuals experience mild symptoms, Taiwan CDC said, adding that however, if a pregnant woman who has no rubella antibodies becomes infected with rubella during early pregnancy, there is a chance she will pass the infection to her unborn child and a chance that the child will develop congenital rubella syndrome, resulting in fetal death, miscarriage or birth defects. Hence, women of child-bearing age who are tested negative for rubella antibody during the pre-marital medical examination can receive a free dose of MMR vaccine when presenting the negative rubella antibody result at the local health station or a contracted hospital, Taiwan CDC said.

The agency recommends travelers visiting affected areas to visit the outpatient travel clinic at contracted hospitals in the nation to determine the need for MMR vaccination 2 to 4 weeks prior to their trip, heighten vigilance, pay attention to personal hygiene, wash hands frequently, avoid touching mouth and nose, and wear a mask while visiting crowded places.

If symptoms pertaining to rubella infection such as fever, fatigue, nasopharyngitis and obviously swollen lymph nodes behind the ears develop and are accompanied by generalized irregular papules, joint pain or arthritis, seek immediate medical attention, and voluntarily inform the physician of relevant travel and exposure history, Taiwan CDC said.