Unvaccinated French Boy And His Family Blamed For Reintroducing Measles To Costa Rica

Whether or not to vaccinate has been hotly debated recently, as a spate of measles outbreaks has been linked to unvaccinated children. Now, after being measles-free for five years, Costa Rica has encountered its first case of the measles since 2014. This new case occurred in a five-year-old boy, who has been confirmed as unvaccinated against the dangerous disease.

According to The Costa Rica Star, the country’s Ministry of Health has just announced the first confirmed case of the measles, after the country has been actively encouraging vaccination against the disease, due to the recent outbreaks elsewhere in the world. They confirmed that a five-year-old boy — who was not vaccinated against the measles — was visiting from France with his parents, aged 30 and 35.

After the boy contracted a rash, the family sought medical assistance, and it was later confirmed that the boy had contracted measles. The family is now in isolation at the Puntarenas Hospital in Costa Rica. It has also been confirmed that the boy’s mother has not received vaccinations against measles, much like her son.

The authorities are now in the process of reaching out to those who may have come into contact with the family, who came into the country on Air France flight on February 18. Government officials already reached out to a hotel in San José — which the family stayed at for one night — as well as their housing accommodations in Santa Teresa, Puntarenas.

The Independent also points out that other confirmed cases of the measles have been identified at the boy’s school in France. As a result, French authorities have also been notified, and will now begin tracking who else may have come in contact with the family.

The Costa Rican health authorities issued the following statement on the mater.

“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.”

They also asked for anyone who had the following symptoms to seek medical attention.

  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Skin rash that starts on the head, and spreads along the body to the feet, reaching the hips around the second day

“The above symptoms are of particular importance for people who in the previous 20 days have been in countries with measles transmission or in contact with an eventual imported case,” authorities explained.

As The Independent points out, this newly confirmed case of the measles comes only one month after the World Health Organization (WHO) listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top ten health threats in 2019.

While Costa Rica has not seen a confirmed case of the measles since 2014, the country hasn’t reported any native outbreaks or cases of the disease since 2006.

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