The number of children born with congenital rubella syndrome have increased in Japan in 2013. Thirty-one cases were reported last year according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the worst record since the institute started keeping track in 1999.
More than triple its 2004 record of 10 cases, the number indicates the rising epidemic of rubella in Japan. Mothers who have contracted the rubella virus during pregnancy and have not been vaccinated prior will most likely have developing fetuses with CRS. Babies born with CRS show symptoms of congenital heart diseases, cataracts and hearing impairment. The health ministry discovered that most of the CRS cases reported involve mothers who were not able to receive vaccinations against rubella. Some were unsure if they had been vaccinated and decided to not take any precaution of immunity against it. Women cannot be vaccinated against the virus during their pregnancy and many are encouraged to have the vaccine before getting pregnant.
Last year, the highest number of CSR cases was reported from Tokyo with thirteen, followed by Osaka with five. Three cases were reported from Kanagawa, while other prefectures such as Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba, Aichi, Mie and Wakayama also reported CRS cases from their regions.