Measles is sweeping the globe, and will soon be pouring into Japan.  02/26/24

The global outbreak of measles (measles) is increasing the risk of extremely serious complications and death.
In the United States, the United Kingdom, and European Union countries, the spread of the disease continues unabated. In the United States, measles cases have been reported in California, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Ohio, Maryland, Minnesota, and Florida. It is believed to be an influx of cases from international travelers.

Measles is so contagious that even a single case is considered an outbreak. One measles patient can infect 12 to 18 people who are not immunized by vaccine or natural infection. In contrast, about 2 persons in the corona. Two doses of measles vaccine protect 97% of children, but because the virus spreads rapidly by airborne (aerosol) transmission, at least 95% of the population must have completed two doses of vaccine to stop the spread.

In the U.S., only 93% of children were vaccinated in 2022-23, and in Japan, only 93% were vaccinated in 2021 and 95% in 2022 for the first phase, and 93% in 2021 and 92% in 2022 for the second phase.

A person who has measles can spread the virus for 9 days, from 4 days before to 4 days after a skin rash develops. An infected person can be contagious up to 2 hours after leaving a room.

When 10,000 children are infected with measles, 2,000 (20%) will be hospitalized, 1,000 (10%) will develop ear infections with possible permanent hearing loss, 500 (5%) will develop pneumonia, and 10-30 (0.1~0.3%) will die. Measles patients are susceptible to secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia, one of the most common causes of death in measles patients.

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a devastating long-term complication of measles, causes memory loss, irritability, movement disorders, seizures, and blindness, which may occur 6 to 8 years after recovery from measles. Antiepileptic drugs may relieve symptoms but do not cure the disease. Recent studies indicate that this complication is more common than previously thought, occurring in about 1 in 600 (0.16%) young children exposed to measles.

It is predicted that the disease will soon begin to spread domestically in Japan, under the same conditions of declining vaccination coverage during a pandemic and increasing inbound numbers. Children who have not been vaccinated are urged to be vaccinated as soon as possible.