The Tokyo Reporter

Japan measles outbreak: Osaka eyes vaccines for 900 Kansai airport workers

Employees at Kansai International Airport are being vaccinated against measles following an outbreak that began last month (NHK)

OSAKA (TR) – Some 900 workers at Kansai International Airport will be offered voluntary measles vaccinations, city officials here announced on Thursday, in a race against time to rein in the fast-spreading disease that Japan once eradicated years ago.

Osaka city officials said workers at the airport who are not vaccinated or have no record of measles infections and are under 30 years old can receive the measles vaccinations. Some 300 workers were to be vaccinated on Thursday and Friday, the Sankei Shimbun reports (September 8).

Osaka officials requested the central government for more vaccinations in light of the outbreaks, and plan to vaccinate the other 600 in due course.

Since last month, 33 workers at the airport have been confirmed to have measles.

Doctors and paramedics who conducted examinations were also found to be infected, raising concerns the virus will continue to spread.

Those aged between 10 and 30 are part of a generation that grew up when measles vaccinations were not routinely administered, leaving them comparatively more susceptible to the disease. Many of the infected airport workers are in their 20s and 30s, officials said.

The latest measure comes in the wake of confirmation of cases of measles at a nursery in Hyogo Prefecture on Thursday. Last month, several cases of measles broke out at a Justin Bieber concert in Chiba Prefecture.

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