Infectivity is six times that of influenza! Masks do not protect and vaccines are in short supply “The Reality of the Measles Pandemic”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Infectivity is six times that of influenza! Masks do not protect and vaccines are in short supply “The Reality of the Measles Pandemic”.

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Measles Outbreak Amid Vaccine Shortage

Medical professionals are nervous after it was reported on the official website that one of the audience members of the popular rock band “BUMP OF CHICKEN” had contracted measles at their concert at Osaka-jo Hall on March 6. All of them were passengers on a passenger plane arriving at Kansai International Airport from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on February 24.

Dr. Hirokatsu Kinoshita, husband of popular female professional wrestler Jaguar Yokota (62) and director of the Jaguar Clinic (56), warned, “If the disease continues to spread, there is a risk of death.

Measles is not only spread by droplet or contact infection, but also by airborne transmission. Just being in the same space can be contagious. Measles virus is spread over a wide area by air currents. People who do not have antibodies to the measles virus People who do not have antibodies to the measles virus can easily become infected simply by inhaling that air. Influenza virus and coronavirus can be prevented to some extent by masks, but measles virus is very small and can slip through masks. The spread of infection is a concern.

The measles virus is highly contagious. It is said that one patient can infect 12 to 18 people if all the people around him or her have no antibodies. This is six times the infectivity of the influenza virus, which is said to infect two to three people per patient under the same circumstances. Moreover, while many cases of coronavirus infection do not develop the disease, more than 90% of people infected with measles virus will develop the disease. There is no specific cure, only symptomatic treatment to control the respective symptoms. After infection with the measles virus, the disease develops after an incubation period of 10 to 12 days, and cold-like symptoms such as fever and cough last for 2 to 3 days, followed by a generalized rash. After 2-3 days of cold-like symptoms such as fever and cough, a rash appears over the entire body. The fever is characterized by the fact that it goes down for about two days, but then rises again to nearly 40 degrees Celsius, and the high fever lasts for about a week.

The high fever alone is quite painful, but the most frightening aspect of measles is the complications.

Pneumonia and otitis media are common complications, and in severe cases, encephalitis can occur, resulting in death at a rate of 1 in 1,000. Also, although very rare, measles virus can incubate in the brain after infection, causing encephalitis to slowly progress, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis can develop several to ten years later. This is the worst complication of measles, which, if developed, can lead to death via a vegetative state,” said Kinoshita.

Dr. Kinoshita’s antibody titer was also low©Provided by Kinoshita

It is also widely known that measles infection during pregnancy causes miscarriage, premature delivery, and stillbirth at a rate of 30-40%, and blood tests for rubella and measles antibodies are conducted in the early stages of pregnancy during antenatal checkups. Since rubella and measles vaccinations cannot be administered during pregnancy, it is important to check the vaccination history.

MR (measles and rubella) vaccine is not available due to shipment adjustments©Provided by Kinoshita

Now that there are signs of a measles epidemic, vaccines are effective in preventing infection. Many people should have been vaccinated in their childhood, but whether the vaccine is effective or not depends not only on the vaccination history but also on the antibody titer. Kinoshita explains.

The generation older than 51 years old has not been vaccinated against measles. Many of them have antibodies due to infection. However, we cannot tell if they actually have antibodies until we do a blood test. I also had a blood test, and my measles antibody was 14.2 (EIA method), which is below the standard value of 16 (EIA method). I think most people have antibodies because the measles vaccine is now a two-dose vaccination. The generation that received two doses of measles vaccine (those born between 1977 and 1990) have weakened antibodies about 30 years after the vaccination, and even the younger generation that has received two doses of measles vaccine may have lost antibody titers. We recommend that you have a blood test to check the antibody titer. However, the test is not covered by insurance, so you will have to pay for it yourself.

Ms. Y, 22, who lives in Tokyo, had her antibody titer checked in preparation for studying abroad and found that it was below the standard level of 6.5.

The cost was 13,000 yen. I was surprised that it was more expensive than I expected, but there were no clinics that had the vaccine in stock at all, and I finally found one after visiting five clinics,” said Mr. Ý.

According to Kinoshita, the Jaguar Clinic has also been inundated with inquiries about the measles vaccine.

We recommend that people take an antibody test before getting the vaccine. If you have antibodies, you don’t need to be vaccinated, and we don’t want you to be vaccinated. This is because the measles vaccine is originally produced for children. The vaccine shortage has already begun due to the manufacturer’s shipment adjustment, and if adults are vaccinated, the vaccine will not be available to children who should be vaccinated. Moreover, vaccination of adults is not covered by insurance and is at one’s own expense, so the price is expensive, at 10,000 yen or more.”

On March 26, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announced that the number of measles cases in Japan reached 20, or 70% of last year’s total. Fourteen of the cases may have been related to a man whose infection was confirmed on a return flight from the United Arab Emirates.

Osaka-jo Hall, where BUMP OF CHICKEN performed live, has a capacity of 16,000. As far as the official X is concerned, there is no detailed information on whether or not the infected guest used public transportation. If those passengers used bullet trains, airplanes, trains, buses, etc. …… I would not be surprised if a measles pandemic occurs at any time. We want to do what we can before that happens.

  • Interview and text by Eri Yoshizawa

    Pharmacist/medical journalist

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