Authorities clarify that Costa Rica is not on health alert for amoebic meningitis. Hot springs are safe without submerging the head.
The Ministry of Health officials clarify that the country is not on health alert for the cases of amoebic meningitis detected in recent weeks. Natural thermal waters bring benefits as long as they are enjoyed in a responsible manner following the prevention measures recommended by the Ministry of Health.
“A person can use the thermal waters without any affectation as long as he or she does not submerge his or her head in the water. Putting the head in the water facilitates the entry of the microorganism causing amoebic meningitis through the nose. For this reason, the Ministry of Health is asking hot spring users to keep their heads out of the natural hot springs at all times and to monitor minors to comply with this instruction,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas.
“We agree that we are not facing any kind of alert that prevents the visitation of the thermal waters, but rather the need to increase preventive measures to enjoy them in a safe and responsible way. We reiterate the commitment that the sector has with the security of its tourists, for that reason, we will support educating our visitors and we will collaborate in the construction of specific regulation for the pools of natural thermal waters”, expressed the director of Canatur, Shirley Calvo.
Amoebic meningitis is produced by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. The microorganism is commonly present in temperate freshwater anywhere in the world (lakes, rivers and natural hot springs). The disease is very rare; scientific studies have determined that it affects one in every 2.5 million people.
“The ICT urges establishments that have thermal waters to follow the health recommendations and preventive measures issued by the Ministry of Health,” said María Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism.
“As we have been doing in the last years, from the Institute we will continue offering training to the businessmen of the tourist niche of well-being and of thermalism with national and international experts for the improvement and security of this product with enormous potential”, added the hierarch.