Costa Rica had managed to completely eradicate the measles for 5 years, until an unvaccinated 5-year-old boy and his family visited the Central American country last week.
The boy and his parents, who are from France, have been quarantined by health authorities as they try to track down anyone who may have been exposed.
According to The Costa Rica Star, the child’s mother was also not vaccinated. While they were in Costa Rica, the child’s mother consulted a private doctor when she noticed that her son had developed a rash. The child likely contracted the disease from the school he attends in France where other measles cases have reportedly sprung up. Doctors in Costa Rica have since confirmed that the child indeed does have measles.
From The Costa Rica Star:
Doctors confirmed the results of the blood analysis, positive for measles. This led Costa Rican health authorities to activate their protocol and contact everyone that could have been in contact with the family, including those who were on the same Air France flight into the country on February 18 and the hotel they stayed at in San José for one day and where they stayed in Santa Teresa, Puntarenas.
The last time measles was present in Costa Rica was in 2014, but even then it was brought in by outsiders. The last time a measles case originated in Costa Rica was in 2006.
In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that people who refuse to vaccinate are among the top-10 health threats facing the world in the coming year. WHO also stated that “vaccine hesitancy” is growing globally, with the measles increasing 30 percent around the world.
WHO’s report mentioned some of the reasons people are resistant to vaccination, among them being complacency, lack of confidence in established science, and “inconvenience” when it comes to seeking out places where vaccines are administered.
Globally, measles is a leading cause of death for children, killing an average of 246 children under age 5 every day. The disease can also lead to severe complications such as swelling of the brain or blindness.
Featured image via GPOnline