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This Country Was Done With Measles. Then the Boy Arrived

5-year-old French tourist in the country has the disease
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2019 7:08 AM CST
Updated Mar 2, 2019 2:45 PM CST
This Feb. 6, 2015, file photo, shows a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine on a countertop at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

(Newser) – A French family arrived in Costa Rica last Monday and put an end to Costa Rica's measles-free status: No citizen there has contracted the disease since 2006, and the last time a foreigner brought it to the country was in 2014. The Independent reports that a 5-year-old boy was taken to a doctor due to a rash; it turns out children at his school have been diagnosed with measles and that he hadn't been vaccinated against it. The Costa Rica Star reports he tested positive for measles and is currently being quarantined at a hospital in Puntarenas. Officials are working to determine who may have been in contact with the child during his flight and as the family traveled in San Jose and Santa Teresa; an infected person is generally contagious for about eight days.

The World Health Organization named "vaccine hesitancy" as among the top 10 global health threats this year, and its measles stats aren't encouraging: Cases were up 30% between 2016 and 2017; in that latter year, there were 110,000 measles deaths. The WHO is currently tracking an outbreak in Madagascar that has caused an estimated 900 deaths among the 68,000 cases that have occurred since September, reports the AP. The vaccination rate there is thought to be around 60%. In the Philippines, 136 people have died in a measles outbreak, reports the AP. USA Today notes that the CDC says the vaccine is 97% effective. (See the WHO's nine other top threats.)

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