A British tourist has sparked a health alert after being hospitalised with measles in Mexico causing medics to monitor 369 people she met while on holiday.
The 50-year-old British woman, who has not been named in reports, flew to the tourist city of Cancun in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo before travelling to the tourist resort of Playa del Carmen where she began suffering from a fever, a cough and red marks on her skin.
She was taken to a private hospital and treated for one day before being transferred to a public general hospital in the municipality of Solidaridad.
Lab results have confirmed she is suffering from measles and the tourist reportedly said she could not remember if she had been vaccinated against the disease when she was being attended.
Alejandra Aguirre Crespo, the head of the Health Secretary of the state said to local media that the woman had been hospitalised and under treatment within 24 hours of showing symptoms.
Crespo that they had determined she had come into contact with 369 people since she landed in Mexico and they have all been identified. They will be monitored daily as part of an operation that will end on 22nd June when the risk of other cases of the disease appearing disappears.
Crespo added that the tourist might have contracted measles between 6th and 22nd May, before her trip to Mexico. Measles symptoms usually develop 10 to 12 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 a 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 percent of those who are not immune and share living space with an infected person becoming infected themselves.
The risk of death among those infected is around 0.2 percent but may be up to 10 percent in people with malnutrition. The majority of those who die from the infection are less than five years old. Common complications include diarrhoea, middle ear infection, and pneumonia.
The Panamerican Organization of Health claimed that 12 countries in the region have reported confirmed cases of measles in 2019: 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.