Five years ago, Costa Rica declared that it is free of measles. However, it only took one unvaccinated young tourist to bring the disease back to the country. A young French boy visiting with his family is the first case of the disease in Costa Rica since 2014.
The unnamed boy reportedly arrived in Costa Rica on February 18. He and his mother have not received the MMR vaccine when they arrived in the country. According to reports, the five-year-old was taken by his parents to a private doctor complaining about a “rash.” However, it was later revealed that other children who had attended the boy’s school in France have come down with measles. This means the child may have already been infected by the time he reached Costa Rica.
The boy may have been infected in his school in France because he was not vaccinated.
The Costa Rican health ministry assures that the child is currently being treated in strict isolation. He has been admitted at the Monseñor Sanabria Hospital in the port town of Puntarenas. However, the ministry is also hoping to establish who has come in contact with the boy during the trip. This includes anyone who was in his flight or at a San José hotel where the family stayed for one night, as well as the beach village of Santa Teresa, near Puntarenas.
The health ministry issued a statement regarding the case.
“Our country enjoys very good vaccination coverage in general. However, in order to avoid particular cases and their possible complications, it is important that those in charge of minors ensure that children have the complete vaccination scheme.”
Costa Rica has been free of the disease due to excellent vaccination coverage.
Anyone who has measles symptoms is requested to report to health authorities immediately. Symptoms include fever, nasal congestion, cough, conjunctivitis, skin rash that starts in the head and expands through the body to the feet, reaching the hips around the second day.
The country has been measles-free since 2014. Interestingly, the return of the disease in the country comes just a month after the World Health Organization gave an ominous warning.
In January, WHO declared that “vaccine hesitancy” is one of the top 10 of the worst health threats facing humanity in 2019.
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