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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkHealth & Beauty | May 2009 

CDC Travel Warning Updates
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This information is current as of today, May 11, 2009 at 13:46 EDT



Updated: May 09, 2009 - Revised to link to updated antiviral recommendations for travelers.

Current Situation

The Government of Mexico is continuing to report confirmed human cases of  novel H1N1 flu in Mexico. For the most current case count and information, see the updates posted on the World Health Organization (WHO) Influenza A (H1N1) website.  Experts from WHO, the Global Alert and Response Network (GOARN), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working with health authorities in Mexico to investigate the spread and severity of the novel H1N1 flu outbreak in Mexico.

On April 25, the WHO Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the rules of the International Health Regulations. Cases of novel H1N1 flu are being reported in other countries around the world, including the United States. Some of the U.S. cases have been linked to travel to Mexico. For information about the United States, see the Outbreak Notice, Novel H1N1 Flu in the United States.

CDC is concerned that continued travel by U.S. travelers to Mexico presents a serious risk for their health and the health of others during travel and after they return to the United States.

CDC Recommendations

At this time, CDC recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.

Changes to this recommendation will be posted on the CDC Travelers' Health website. Please check this site frequently for updates.

If you must travel to an area that has reported cases of novel H1N1 flu:

Stay Informed

Prepare for your trip

For all travelers, CDC recommends the following steps to help you stay healthy:

  • Be sure you are up to date with all your routine vaccinations, including a seasonal influenza vaccine. The seasonal vaccine is not expected to offer protection against  novel H1N1 flu, but it can protect against seasonal flu which may still be circulating in Mexico and the Southern Hemisphere.
  • If you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health-care provider for advice before you travel.
  • Pack a travel health kit that contains basic first aid and medical supplies. See Pack Smart in Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel for a list of what to include in your travel health kit.
  • Identify the health-care resources in the area(s) you will be visiting.
  • Check if your health insurance plan will cover you abroad.  Consider purchasing additional insurance that covers medical evacuation in case you become sick. For more information, see Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad from the U.S. Department of State.
  • Remember that U.S. embassies, consulates and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or to give medications, vaccines or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.  

During your visit

Monitor the local situation
  • Pay attention to announcements from the local government
  • Follow local public health guidelines, including any movement restrictions and prevention recommendations
Practice healthy habits to help stop the spread of novel H1N1 flu
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. This removes germs from your skin and helps prevent diseases from spreading.
    • Use waterless alcohol-based hand gels (containing at least 60% alcohol) when soap is not available and hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your used tissue in a wastebasket.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner  when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people (within 6 feet). Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • It is important to follow the advice of local health and government authorities. You may be asked to restrict your movement and stay in your home or hotel to contain the spread of novel H1N1 flu.
What to do if you feel sick
  • It is expected that most people will recover without needing medical care.
  • If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact your health-care provider or seek medical care. Your health-care provider will determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed.
  • If you need to find local medical care, a U.S. consular officer can help you locate medical services and will inform your family or friends in the United States of your illness. To contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country where you are visiting, call the Overseas Citizens Services at:
  • Do not travel while you are sick, except to get local medical care.  Avoid further travel for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
  • Try to limit contact with others as much as possible.  By limiting your contact with other people, you can help prevent the spread of novel H1N1 flu.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • For more information about what to do if you become sick while you are traveling outside the United States, visit Your Survival Guide for Safe and Healthy Travel.
For information on CDC’s recommendations for antiviral use during the novel H1N1 flu outbreak, please visit CDC’s Interim Guidance on Antiviral Recommendations for Patients with Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection and Their Close Contacts.

After your trip

  • Closely monitor your health for 7 days.
  • If you become ill with fever and other symptoms of novel H1N1 flu such as a cough, sore throat, and possibly vomiting and diarrhea, see the information under in the section above titled “What to do if you get sick” and the What to Do If You Get Flu-Like Symptoms page on the CDC H1N1 Flu website.

Status of Entry and Exit Screening in the United States and Mexico

Mexico Exit Screening

Novel H1N1 flu screening has been instituted at airports and land borders for travelers departing Mexico, according to Mexican health authorities. Passengers showing symptoms of novel H1N1 flu will be asked to submit voluntarily to physical examination and further evaluation, if needed.

United States

At this time, the United States is not conducting enhanced entry screening of passengers arriving from Mexico, nor is the United States conducting exit screening of passengers departing for Mexico.

The Department of Homeland Security will provide Travel Health Alert Notices to US travelers going to and coming from Mexico at all airports, seaports, and land border crossings. These notices provide advice to travelers on how to reduce their risk of getting sick, the symptoms of novel H1N1 flu, and what to do if the traveler becomes sick. 

CDC will provide all ill passengers and their contacts arriving from Mexico with Travel Health Alert Notices. These notices provide advice information regarding seeking health advice from a physician and how to prevent illness in persons who have been exposed but who are not ill. 

Additional Information

If you have specific questions about novel H1N1 flu cases, see the Contact CDC webpage or call 1-800-CDC-INFO  (1-800-232-4636).

To learn more about travel health, visit the CDC Travelers' Health website.

Novel H1N1 flu situation updates

Mexico

United States

Global

Novel H1N1 flu travel health updates will be posted on the CDC Travelers' Health website as information becomes available.




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