Americans who plan to spend the fall and winter at home are researching ways to avoid and prevent swine flu, the H1N1 Virus. However, those travelers whose travel plans involve layovers, vacations, or business meetings in Mexico are equally, if not more so, concerned about just how much risk they’ll face. The first location of the H1N1 outbreak, Americans and travelers worldwide are wondering what areas of Mexico have been affected by the swine flu, and what it means for them.
The Statistics: Swine Flu in Mexico
According to a study released by the Mexican Government on September 15, 2009, the distribution of the swine flu in Mexico can be found in each of the 31 states and 1 Federal District (Mexico City) in the country. They report that a total of 25, 214 cases have been confirmed in the country as a whole since the situation first gained attention in March and April of 2009. The majority of the cases have occurred in individuals between the ages of 20-54. Though there is no state in Mexico that has avoided the swine flu outbreak completely, there are substantially more cases reported in Chiapas, Yucatan, and Mexico City than in other portions of the country.
The Precautions: Preparing for Travel to Mexico
If travel to Mexico is inevitable, travelers should take the same precautions they would take while in the United States. Per the CDC’s recommendations, frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze and avoiding others while/when they cough and sneeze, contacting health officials if you suspect you may be infected and following their direction, and staying home if you do suspect you may be ill may all help prevent and curb the spreading of swine flu.
The Restrictions: Travel to Mexico and Worldwide
Today, Friday, September 18th, the CDC maintained that some countries may be checking the health of travelers entering or leaving the country. As a result, it’s essential that you not travel if you have flu-like symptoms. Expect some delays when traveling internationally as a result of these extra precautions. In addition, they report that if another passenger on your flight has or is suspected of having the H1N1 virus, you may be detained. As a result, travel with caution when traveling to Mexico or other international destinations from the United States.
If your future involves travel to or from Mexico, continue to monitor the local situation, take necessary health precautions to prevent swine flu infection, and expect some delays and restrictions from local health authorities.
Estados Unidos Mexicanos (in Spanish); Situación actual de la epidemia; http://portal.salud.gob.mx/descargas/pdf/influenza/situacion_actual_epidemia_150909.pdf
CDC; Possible Novel H1N1 Flu Screening for International Travelers; http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/news-announcements/delays-H1N1-screening.aspx
CDC; Outbreak Notice: Novel H1N1 Flu: Global Situation; http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/outbreak-notice/novel-h1n1-flu-global-situation.aspx