Officials from Mexico’s Ministry of Health called a meeting with tour operators from both Canada and the U.S. in Cancun Thursday. The meeting focused on a report of the Zika virus facts along with prevention and containment efforts undertaken by the Mexican government and tourism industry.
Dr. Alberto Diaz Quiñonez, Deputy General Director of the Mexican Institute for Diagnostic and Epidemiology, advised that Mexico has 34 confirmed cases of the Zika virus (0.03% of the total cases reported globally). All of the Mexican cases relate to Mexican nationals living in rural areas which Diaz says are far from the tourist destinations visited by international tourists. Dr. Diaz stated, ``While the Zika virus is inevitable in Mexico given its vast size, climate and trade in the region, the number of cases remains very low. Strong prevention efforts have already been in practice for years to prevent similar diseases.” Diaz went on to emphasize, “Given these facts, there is no threat to tourists visiting Mexico.”
He says that Mexico’s major tourist destinations and businesses have practiced world class procedures to control the mosquito population and minimize cases of dengue and other diseases for many years now. Also, hotels, restaurants, airports and other areas frequently visited by tourists have in place mosquito eradication practices and follow international guidelines to monitor and control their growth.
He explained that given that the Zika virus is contracted in a manner similar to other mosquito-borne diseases that Mexico has long been combating, the entire country and especially its tourist destinations, are already well prepared to contain this latest disease.
Dr. Diaz referenced the World Health Organization (WHO)’s February 1, 2016, statement confirming that there is no reason to cancel or change travel plans to any country reporting Zika cases, including for pregnant women. With this advisory applying to all countries, even those with high numbers of cases.