General Zika (ZIKV) Information
The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is transmitted by the same type of mosquito linked to dengue and chikungunya.
Cases have been identified across four continents. It has been detected in more than 20 countries in the Americas, including the United States.
One of the major concerns regarding Zika is that its spread may be linked to birth defects such as microcephaly, prompting some countries to advise pregnant women against going to areas where Zika has been detected.
Symptoms can include: mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and a general feeling of illness that begins two to seven days after infection. Four out of five people who are infected show no symptoms at all. If you are not a woman of childbearing age, pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, the Zika virus is unlikely to cause you any serious trouble.
ZIKV cannot be transmitted from person to person through air, food, or water. Nevertheless, the virus can be transmitted via sexual contact and there are strong indications of infection via blood transfusion.
There have been no deaths attributed to the Zika Virus so far. Those infected usually just need to take aspirin, drink water, and get lots of rest, but aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out. Medicine such as acetaminophen is suggested to relieve fever and pain. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There is no known vaccine or cure for Zika at this time.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is developing a Zika vaccine that shows promise in its first phase of testing. As part of its phase two trial, the NIAID is “currently leading an international effort to evaluate” the vaccine. Mexico is part of this international effort.
Important Update: On November 18, 2016 the World Health Organization declared that Zika was no longer a global health emergency and should be considered a dangerous mosquito-borne virus because, like malaria or yellow fever. Read, “Zika Is No Longer a Global Emergency”
CURRENT UPDATE: OCTOBER, 2018 ZIKA VIRUS IN MEXICO
As of October, 2018 there have been 400 confirmed cases of Zika across Mexico during 2018. You can find a complete state-by-state breakdown here, or click here and scroll down to ‘Documentos’ and click on the arrow next to “Cuadro Casos Zika.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has no current ZIKV notice for Mexico, but it acknowledges there’s a risk of Zika Virus in the country.
Mexico has and continues to take steps to prevent the spread of the Zika virus infection through public service announcements, campaigns and preventive travel advisories and warnings. Mexico’s Epidemiological Surveillance System is fully prepared to recognize and diagnose infections by Zika virus.
The WHO has stated that “there should be no restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.”
There are currently no restrictions against travelers visiting Mexico. Both the US Government and Mexican authorities have not placed a general restriction on visiting Mexico, only urged caution to prevent mosquito bites.
GUIDELINES AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
Stay informed about the ZIKV situation as it develops.
Prevent mosquito bites by covering exposed skin with sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
Sleep under a mosquito net to prevent bites.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents on exposed skin and reapply as directed. Insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are very effective and safe when used according to the label. If you’re also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant in any trimester consider postponing travel to areas where there’s risk of Zika virus transmission. If pregnant women do opt to travel to Zika affected areas, the CDC recommends to avoid mosquito bites during their trip. Specific guidance for women who are trying to become pregnant is also included in the CDC advisory.
JOURNEY MEXICO RECOMMENDS
At Journey Mexico we take the health of our clients very seriously, but we strongly believe that the Zika virus does not pose an extraordinary threat to our travelers.
We have no known cases of Zika with any of our passengers, staff members, and guides. We continue to monitor Mexico’s specific situation.
We advise, as always, to travel sensibly and take precautions to avoid getting mosquito bites, as they can also transmit other diseases, like dengue. We are only recommending that pregnant women consider visiting Mexico at another time in accordance with CDC/WHO advice. If you’re considering Mexico as a destination for future travel, we recommend purchasing travel insurance.
The mosquitoes that spread Zika usually do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) because of environmental conditions. Travelers whose itineraries are limited to areas above this elevation are at minimal risk of getting Zika from a mosquito.
*The categories shown on this map are intended as a general guideline and should not be considered to indicate absolute risk. Elevation may vary within an area to a larger extent than this map can depict. The presence of mosquitoes may change seasonally, with increasing temperatures or rainfall, and may change over time.
To view Mexico’s Secretary of Health’s most recent update of confirmed cases in a state-by-state assessment click here and scroll down to ‘Documentos’ and click on the arrow next to “Cuadro Casos Zika.”
Messages from the Mexico Tourism Board
Sources & More:
Latin American Travel Association – Zika Virus Questions and Answers (Mar 2, 2016)
World Tourism Organization UNWTO – Zika Statement
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Zika
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During Zika Outbreak
Pan American Health Organization – Zika
Mexican Government – Zika Virus Infection in Mexico
Mexcio’s Secretary of Health – Zika (Spanish)
The Guardian – Zika Virus Speading Explosively
About.com – Zika Virus in Mexico
This post was written and published on January 29, 2016. As information continues to evolve with research and reported cases, we will add update this post as best as we can, noting any additions. We recommend the CDC website for the most up to date information.