Unvaccinated French boy suspected of reintroducing measles to Costa Rica while on holiday with his family
The boy was reportedly on a holiday with his family and shortly after a private doctor was asked to examine the unidentified boy's 'rash,' his parents were 'placed in isolation'.
An unvaccinated five-year-old French schoolboy is suspected of reintroducing measles to Costa Rica, nearly five years after the country eradicated the disease, according to reports. The boy was reportedly on a holiday with his family when he came to the Central American nation earlier this month and stayed in hotels in Santa Teresa and San Jose.
However, shortly after a private doctor was asked to examine the unidentified boy's "rash," his parents, aged 30 and 35 were "placed in isolation" in Puntarenas Hospital. The boy's mother, who is also not vaccinated, revealed that other children in her son's school had previously contracted the infection, the Daily Mail reported.
Costa Rica health officials said that a search is currently ongoing for people the boy may have come in contact with, including the hotels he stayed at and the people on the Air France flight on February 18.
According to Costa Rica Star, the country has not reported a single domestic case of measles since 2006 and the last imported case was witnessed five years ago.
Measles is a highly infectious illness and its symptoms include severe fever, coughing and rashes. However, some complications can lead to blindness and pneumonia. The American continent witnessed over 7,000 cases of the illness in 2018. According to the World Health Organization, the vaccine for measles prevented over 21 million deaths across the world between 2000 and 2017.
A significant majority of children in developed nations are generally protected against the virus by the combined measles mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).
However, after a recent growing movement against vaccinations, the number of cases reported in 2017 was 30 percent higher than the year before, according to an official report released last year.
Health experts across the world have blamed anti-vaxxers for spreading misinformation about vaccinations — relating it to autism – resulting in the resurgence of potentially life-threatening illness.
A report in November last year stated that multiple nations, including Germany, Russia and Venezuela, had their measles elimination certificate withdrawn over the last 12 months. A measles elimination certificate is revoked from a country when "the same type of virus has been circulating for more than 12 continuous months'"
WHO's director of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, Martin Friede, while speaking to the media, said that "we are actually regressing" in the fight against measles. He said, "supposed experts making accusations against the vaccine without any evidence' has had an impact on parents' decisions."