The Slatest

Costa Rica Had Been Free of Measles Since 2014. Then Along Came an Unvaccinated French Boy.

A man carries a surfboard as he walks past the setting sun at the beach in Tamarindo, Costa Rica on December 12, 2018.
A man carries a surfboard as he walks past the setting sun at the beach in Tamarindo, Costa Rica on December 12, 2018.
DAVID GANNON/Getty Images

Costa Rica had been proudly free of the measles for five years. But all that changed this week thanks to a five-year-old boy and his parents from France who went to the Central American country on holiday on February 18. Now health authorities in the country have put the boy and his parents, who are aged 30 and 35, into quarantine and are trying to locate anybody the family may have infected.

Authorities are especially trying to locate the 311 people who flew on the 12-hour Air France flight to Costa Rica, according to local newspaper La Nación. Several workers at the hotel where the family stayed for one night have been vaccinated against the disease.

The French family had gone to a private doctor in Costa Rica to ask about their child’s rash and said then that other students at their school have had measles, according to the Costa Rica Star.

The last time Costa Rica had a case of measles was in 2014, and that was imported as well. The last measles case that originated in Costa Rica was in 2006.

It isn’t clear why the French boy and his mother were not vaccinated against the measles but it does come at a time when the World Health Organization has listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top 10 global health threats this year.