A Taiwanese woman who visited Japan last month has the first imported case of German measles in the nation this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said.
The CDC said the 35-year-old woman started to develop symptoms of rubella, also called German measles, two weeks after she returned home, including rashes, cervical lymphadenopathy, joint pains and conjunctivitis.
The woman has recovered and the 160 people who had contact with her when she was infected are being monitored by health authorities, the CDC said, and so far there has been no report of any contact developing rubella-like symptoms.
Infection of pregnant women who are not immune to the virus can cause stillbirths, spontaneous abortion or damage to the organs of a fetus, the CDC said.
The fetus of an infected mother who is in her early pregnancy is particularly susceptible to the congenital rubella syndrome, which include serious illnesses such as sensorineural deafness, glaucoma, cataracts, intellectual disability and heart diseases, it said.
The CDC urged all women of childbearing age or who are planning to become pregnant to make sure they are immune to the virus or receive vaccinations three months before their first conception.
Those who lack the antibodies should receive the MMR vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that ensures protection against measles, mumps and rubella.
The rubella epidemic that erupted in Japan last year is continuing. The CDC said pregnant women not immunized against the disease and children younger than one should avoid visiting regions where there is a rubella epidemic.