Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Tourists who eschew vaccination are reintroducing disease to less affluent countries.
An aspect of the vaccination debate that receives too little attention concerns tourists from affluent nations with solid health care systems who travel to less affluent countries.
A Costa Rican newspaper is reporting that a 5-year-old boy from France, who was never vaccinated against the measles, contracted that disease prior to going on vacation. He and his family are now quarantined in Costa Rica
Since a person is contagious four days before a measles rash appears, everyone who was on the same airplane is now being contacted. The housekeeping staff who cleaned this family’s rooms in two separate hotels have also had a scare.
In most cases, measles aren’t a big deal. But a minority of patients encounter serious medical complications leading to blindness, deafness, brain damage, and death.
The Costa Rican newspaper tells us measles were eliminated in that country more than a decade ago. During the past five years, however, this disease has twice been brought into the country by visitors.
We’re used to thinking of vaccinations as something people in rich countries get, prior to going abroad, to protect themselves from diseases that still torment less fortunate parts of the world.
How terribly ironic that, as more people in affluent societies choose not to vaccinate their children, less affluent nations are once again battling diseases they thought they’d vanquished.
In many places on this planet, health care is minimal. The medical infrastructure isn’t equipped to cope should a large scale, totally preventable outbreak occur.
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