Measles Infection Surpass 20 Cases as of March 22, More Than Two-Thirds That of Last Year

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A poster alerting people to a global outbreak of measles is displayed in the entry area of Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture on March 19.

A series of highly contagious measles cases have been confirmed in Japan. Due to a global outbreak, at least 20 people have been confirmed to be infected this year, mainly among those traveling abroad. The number exceeds two-thirds of last year’s total, raising concerns about the spread of the disease.

The alert has been increased after 10 infected passengers on a passenger plane arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 24 and three others at Kansai International Airport among other places were diagnosed with measles.

The World Health Organization verified that Japan had achieved measles elimination in 2015. Infections since then have been caused by the virus being brought in from overseas.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 744 cases were reported in 2019. From 2020 to 2022, during the COVID-19 pandemic prevailed, there were 10 cases or fewer each year, but in 2023, the number of cases increased to 28. This year, as of March 22, there have been at least 20 cases in eight prefectures.