Measles From Bieber Show?

Japanese fans who attended Justin Bieber‘s concert Aug. 14 at the  in a Tokyo suburb may have left the venue with more than just fond memories of the Canadian singing idol. They may have taken home a virulent case of the measles. 

In the week after the concert, one fan was diagnosed with the illness, and doctors determined that he was most contagious at the time he attended the show. The doctor reported his diagnosis to Japan’s Disease Control and Prevention Center, which has since alerted the public and other medical organizations to the possibility of more cases.

Measles is an airborne virus, so the possibility of others being infected in such close quarters is high. According to the Center’s announcement, “There is a fear that the measles outbreak in the Kanto region [the area surrounding Tokyo] might spread to the rest of the country. It should be noted that the virus has a much higher rate of infection than the flu. Infection might be a low concern for some, however, risk of death is six times higher for women who are pregnant.”

The problem is a sticky one for the authorities, which changed the law regarding vaccinations in the mid-’90s, making childhood immunization optional. Many parents, in fact, opted to not have their children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella.

Photo: Rob Grabowski / Invision / AP
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Ill.

Consequently, there have been occasional outbreaks of measles in the past decade. Some infected people have even spread the virus overseas.