Japanese health officials have confirmed at least 50 cases of measles have been reported on the island of Okinawa between March 1 and April 17. Authorities have implemented public health measures, including vaccination campaigns, to prevent further spread of the disease.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Individuals in or planning travel to Okinawa are advised to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.