Taiwan warns travelers about measles and rubella in Japan

Diseases threaten pregnant women and babies under the age of 1

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Cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - As the cherry blossom season in Japan is about to open, Taiwanese health officials on Saturday warned travelers, and pregnant women or parents with babies in particular, about the outbreak of measles and German measles in the country.

Japan is a popular travel destination for many Taiwanese of any age, but pregnant women and babies aged one or younger were particularly at risk from the diseases.

Measles is a highly contagious infectious ailment with symptoms developing more than 10 days after exposure, while German measles, also known as rubella, can cause birth defects.

Measles was affecting the Kansai region of Japan including Osaka, while rubella had been spreading around Tokyo and Fukuoka, the Central News Agency reported.

A total of 148 cases of measles had been recorded in the country for this year by February 3, while the number of known instances of rubella during the same period stood at 367, with almost a third occurring in Tokyo. Last year, 2,900 people suffered from the German measles in all of Japan.