Unvaccinated boy suspected of bringing measles to Costa Rica

Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A boy from France who arrived in Costa Rica with his family earlier this month may have reintroduced measles to the country.

The Costa Rica Ministry of Health is reporting (computer translated) a suspected reintroduction of measles into the country after an unvaccinated 5-year-old French boy on holidays with his parents had been put under quarantine at a hospital in Puntarenas.

In a statement, Costa Rica's Ministry of Health said officials are searching for people the child may have come into contact with before he was placed in isolation.

According to the HPSC website, measles is worst for children under one year of age, pregnant women, and people with poor immunity.

The boy arrived with his parents on February 18 for a vacation in the country. His parents are also reportedly isolated. "Donnees-de-surveillance-au-19-decembre-2018" target="_blank">2,902 cases of measles were confirmed between December 18, 2017, and December 16, 2018, according to official figures, with at least one reported instance in 88 departments. The last case to originate in the country was in 2006.

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They say that "measles virus is highly contagious and spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing".

The disease is easily preventable with the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

It's unclear why the boy was not vaccinated, but it's worth remembering that some people can not receive vaccinations on valid medical grounds, such as having a compromised immune system. Three deaths were recorded in 2018 - including a 17-year-old and a 32-year-old in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.

The most serious complications from severe measles include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), diarrhoea and dehydration, and severe respiratory infections, according to WHO. "In countries where measles has been largely eliminated, cases imported from other countries remain an important source of infection", World Health Organization said.

Anyone with symptoms of measles (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) was urged to contact the Ministry as soon as possible.

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