Costa Rica is easily one of my favorite countries to visit. I have been to the country twice over the last year (click here and here, if you missed it). There are many things to do while visiting the country, but drinking the tap water should not be one of them. This was the only “bad” thing that happened to me during my visits to Costa Rica. The food, people, and weather create the basis for the country’s slogan, Pura Vida.
Costa Rica touts over two million annual visitors. Visitors are advised to take precautions/steps prior to entering and while in the country. The list includes having a passport valid for 30 days after arrival, using licensed taxis, and practicing water safety. The main thing that stands out to me on the list is the following warning by the Centers for Disease Control:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you visit a health care provider four-to-six weeks before leaving for Costa Rica. The CDC recommends that you make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date and that you get vaccinated against typhoid and hepatitis A.
It appears a French family of anti-vaxxers decided to ignore Costa Rica’s entrance policies. The family of three (mother, father, and five year old son) entered the country on February 18. The child was taken to a private doctor a few days later with what his parents described as a “rash”. While talking to the doctor, the parents stated students at their son’s school had come down with the measles and that neither the mom or son were vaccinated.
The child has been isolated at a hospital in the town of Puntarenas to contain the measles. The Costa Rican Health Ministry are in the process of establishing a list of anyone that may have come in contact with the child.
Prior to this case of measles, Costa Rica’s most recent case of the measles occurred in 2014. The 2014 measles were brought to the country by a tourist as well. The last time a Costa Rican national came down with the measles was in 2006.
This frustrates me to no end. Before you decide to forgo vaccinations for yourself or kids, think about everyone else who will potentially have to suffer because of your decision. Not only did the family choose to skip vaccinations, they knew the child had been exposed to measles at school prior to traveling to Costa Rica. This is a very selfish, potentially deadly act committed by the family.
H/T to The Independent