Teenage measles outbreak shows shortcomings in Japan's immunisation programme

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 21 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1292
  1. Peter Moszynski
  1. London

    An outbreak of measles in Japan has led to the closure of more than a hundred schools and universities in the past month and to calls for a new push to eradicate the virus completely. Japan is one of the few industrialised countries yet to eliminate the disease.

    In 1978 Japan introduced a mandatory measles vaccination programme for preschool children. But mandatory vaccination stopped when the law was revised in 1994. Although vaccination rates remained at about 90%, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, this was short of the 95% coverage needed to eradicate the disease from the general population.

    Nobuhiko Okabe, director of …

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