As of Monday, May 4, Mexico has reported 590 laboratory confirmed human cases of Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). At least 25 people in Mexico have died from the infection, and 20 countries have officially reported the influenza infection.
However, WHO does not recommend closing borders or keeping healthy people from traveling. In fact, the organization posted the following information on its Web site last week: “Today, international travel moves rapidly, with large numbers of individuals visiting various parts of the world. Limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading, but would be highly disruptive to the global community … Scientific research based on mathematical modeling indicates that restricting travel will be of limited or no benefit in stopping the spread of disease. Historical records of previous influenza pandemics, as well as experience with SARS, have validated this point.”
The Ministry of Tourism and the Mexico Tourism Board recently released an official statement in response to the pandemic. In that statement, the organizations expressed concern and said that their highest priority was maintaining the health and wellbeing of tourists. They also encouraged travelers to follow any preventative measures set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO and Mexico health authorities.
On April 30, Mexico President Felipe Calderón asked that citizens stay home for five days with their families. Non-essential businesses — such as restaurants and stores, as well as some government offices — were asked to halt services from May 1-5.
To prevent infection, the WHO recommends that individuals thoroughly wash hands with soap and water and seek medical attention if flu-like symptoms develop. There is no risk of contracting the virus from consuming pork or food of any kind.