British tourist sparks health alert in Mexico after coming down with measles… forcing medics to monitor daily 369 people she has met there
- The 50-year-old woman began feeling ill in the tourist resort of Playa del Carmen
- She was taken to a private hospital with a fever, cough and red marks on her skin
- Lab results confirmed it was measles and she started treatment straight away
A British tourist in Mexico has sparked a health alert after being hospitalised with measles, forcing medics to monitor 369 people she has met while on holiday for signs of the infection.
The 50-year-old woman, who has not been named, flew to the city of Cancun in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo before travelling to the tourist resort of Playa del Carmen.
When she arrived at the resort, she began suffering from a fever, cough and red marks on her skin.
A British tourist in Mexico has sparked a health alert after being hospitalised with measles forcing medics to monitor 369 people she has met while on holiday. She had travelled to the resort of Playa del Carmen, pictured
She was taken to a private hospital and treated for one day before being transferred to a public general hospital in the town of Solidaridad.
Lab results confirmed she was suffering from the highly contagious condition and she reportedly said she could not remember if she had been vaccinated against the disease.
Alejandra Aguirre Crespo, the health secretary of Quintana Roo, told local media that the woman had been hospitalised and under treatment within 24 hours of showing symptoms.
She said that authorities had determined she had come into contact with 369 people since she landed in Mexico and they had all been identified.
They will be monitored daily as part of an operation that will end on June 22 when the risk of other cases of the disease appearing disappears.
Crespo added that the tourist may have contracted measles between May 6 and 22, before her trip to Mexico.
Alejandra Aguirre Crespo, the health secretary of Quintana Roo, told local media that the woman had been hospitalised and under treatment within 24 hours of showing symptoms (file picture)
WHAT IS MEASLES AND ITS SYMPTOMS?
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from an infected person by coughing, sneezing or even just breathing.
Symptoms develop between six and 19 days after infection, and include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, a fever and a rash.
The rash appears as red and blotchy marks on the hairline that travel down over several days, turning brown and eventually fading.
Some children complain of disliking bright lights or develop white spots with red backgrounds on their tongue.
In one in 15 cases, measles can cause life-threatening complications including pneumonia, convulsions and encephalitis.
Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society told MailOnline: ‘Measles can be very serious.
‘[It] can cause encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain.
‘Encephalitis can result in death or disability.’
Treatment focuses on staying hydrated, resting and taking painkillers, if necessary.
Measles can be prevented by receiving two vaccinations, the first at 13 months old and the second at three years and four months to five years old.
Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital
Measles symptoms usually develop six to 19 days after exposure to an infected person and last seven to 10 days.
The tourist’s condition is described as good and she is making progress, according to Crespo, who said the woman is in the last stage of the disease.
She was reportedly travelling with another woman aged 29, a man aged 33, a boy aged 14 and a girl aged seven, all of whom are described as healthy.
Local media report that Mexico has been free of native cases of measles since 1996.
The disease is highly infectious with around 90 per cent of those who are not immune contracting it if they come into contact with an infected person.
The risk of death among those infected is around 0.2 per cent but may be up to 10 per cent in people with malnutrition.
The majority of those who die from the infection are less than five years old and common complications include diarrhoea, middle ear infection and pneumonia.
The Panamerican Organisation of Health claimed that 12 countries in the region have reported confirmed cases of measles in 2019.
These are Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
No deaths have been linked with the disease in the region this year.
The current case has come amid a global resurgence of the disease, due largely to an anti-vaccination movement that has emerged in recent years.
According to the World Health Organisation, cases of measles throughout the world quadrupled in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year.