Recently, the Japan Times published an article regarding the rising threat of Rubella in Japan. Rubella, also known as German Measles, creates a rash that lasts for a few days. Although it isn’t particularly lethal, severe cases can eventually lead to inflammation of the brain and glands.

The first few cases of rubella in Japan started to appear back in 2013.  Since then, the number of infected people started to grow at a subtle but progressive rate. As of now, over 79% of these victims are male, with over 88% being comprised of adults between 20-40 years of age. For an institution with an utterly male student body, this is terrible news.

The primary symptoms of this disease are headaches and an irritating rash. Although this may not seem as drastic as say, influenza, it isn’t exactly a joyride either. Complications can even lead to testicular swelling, and bleeding problems. Furthermore, pregnant victims have an increased risk of going through a miscarriage. Even if the baby is born, he or she is likely to be infected with CRS, or congenital rubella syndrome. This deadly disease would most likely result in one of the following: deafness, blindness, or cataracts.  In order to prevent future generations from suffering this fate, we should make sure not to infect others.

Rubella is an airborne disease, and cannot be spread through insects or food. However, those infected will cough a lot. Their breath itself is contagious. Although some are born immune, most people receive a vaccine during the first few years of their birth. In most first world countries, it it included among a plethora of vaccines mandated by the state. Therefore, it should be rare in a developed country like Japan. However, measles itself has to started to reemerge in Japan, as the vaccine was temporarily taken of the list of standards a couple generations ago. The recent outbreak is particularly troubling. Many among the Japanese public fear for its negative effect on the upcoming Olympics 2020, which we be held in Tokyo. Foreigners will no doubt be discouraged from traveling to Japan in fear of catching the disease.

The SMIS administration has reacted to this news by asking all parents to reconfirm that their children have received multiple doses of the vaccine. All infected members of the student body must remain out of school for 7 days from the onset of the illness.

Other than  taking the vaccine, the only way to really counteract this rising virus is to wear a mask and perhaps avoid people who cough a lot. Although this may not seem as robust as say, a daily pill, always remember that its only a precaution, and the meat of the resistance comes from the vaccine. Considering how easily its spread, and its preference for males, we should all take care to stay uninfected, so that we in turn don’t contaminate others.

Written by Ryo Matsuki