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CANCUN SWINE FLU UPDATES

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HOW DOES SWINE FLU AFFECT YOU AND YOUR VACATION PLANS TO CANCUN?

Last Update: 5/22/09 12:22 PM CDT

BREAKING NEWS - USA LIFTS WARNING ON TRAVEL TO MEXICO

BREAKING NEWS - CANADA DROPS WARNING ON TRAVEL TO MEXICO

BREAKING NEWS - UK DROPS TRAVEL WARNING FOR MEXICO

CUT THROUGH THE HYPE
As usual, the media, especially the cable news channels have been working diligently to raise their ratings by scaring the public.  You have probably seen the word "Mexico" on your TV screen so many times to scary music, catch phrases and flashy graphics, your head is spinning.  What you may not know is just how the Swine Flu scare really affects you and your travel plans to Cancun.   Here we present you only with the facts.  How you use them is up to you.

Number of Reported Cases of Swine Flu in Cancun:  7
Number of People in Quintana Roo Who Don't Have Swine Flu:  1,135,295

Number of People who Died from Influenza in the USA last year:   56,000
Number of People who Die from Influenza Worldwide Each Year:  500,000
Number of Confirmed Deaths Worldwide from Swine Flu:  79
Number of Confirmed Cases in the USA:  5123
Number of Confirmed Cases in Mexico:   3648
Number of People in Mexico who Don't have Swine Flu:  110 Million
Percentage of Municipalities in Mexico With No Swine Flu: 89.4%
Number of Confirmed Cases in Canada:  496
Number of People Worldwide Estimated to Have Regular Flu:  1 Billion
Number of Confirmed Cases of Swine Flu Worldwide:  9,830
% of Population who have had Swine Flu in Cancun: .0001%
% of Population with Swine Flu in Wisconsin:
.001% (10 Times Higher)
Source:  World Health Organization, Salud (Mexican CDC) and CDC

 

CURRENT STATUS OF SWINE FLU IN MEXICO

 

The Mexico swine flu scare has passed.  All the major countries, including the USA, Canada, UK, WHO and the European Union have issued the all clear for travel to Mexico by dropping any warning or ban against travel to Mexico.  Cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean have already announced their returns to Mexico, as have major UK tour operators like Thompson and Thomas Cook, Canadian airlines such as Air Canada, and international airlines from countries like Ecuador, Argentina, and Switzerland. They have done so because swine flu is on the decline in Mexico, while spreading widely throughout the USA (which has many more cases of swine flu than Mexico) and Canada. 

 

The swine flu has turned out to be no worse than the regular seasonal flu, and has never been found in many of Mexico's tourist resorts such as Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Zihuatenejo.  Cancun had a few cases in late April, but no more have surfaced since then in a city of 600,000 people.  As people realized that they had more chance of catching it in their own countries than Mexico, and that even if they got it, they were no more at risk than a regular old run of the mill flu bug, the public outcry brought the governments to remove their restrictions.

 

The only difference now between Mexico before the scare and Mexico now is the lack of tourism.  Although it is steadily increasing back to normal, the economy in Mexico has taken a beating from the character assassination of the mass media and fearful governments, despite never actually having any swine flu in most Mexican resort towns, and a 100% recovery rate among the few tourists that have contracted H1N1, usually in a day or two like the regular flu.  The flu bug is very rare in Mexico's resort communities, and has been non-lethal.  Tourists have known for a while that there was more risk of being struck by lightning than dying from swine flu, but now the governments have obtained the political cover they need to do what the WHO has been saying all along.

 

FACT VS. FICTION - THE BASICS OF SWINE FLU

 

Swine Flu is milder and less dangerous than the regular seasonal flu that everyone has had at one time or another.  13,000 people so far this year in the USA have died of the regular old seasonal flu.  6 have died from swine flu, all with severe underlying health problems.  It is estimated that approximately 1 Billion people worldwide suffer from the regular flu every year, and up to 50 million people in the USA alone.  So far 9,000 have had swine flu worldwide.  The US Government has even announced that swine flu is not worse than the regular flu.  You are more likely to die from a lightning strike than swine flu.

 

Despite the international isolation of Mexico during this outbreak, there are nearly  75% more cases of swine flu in the USA than in Mexico.  The resort communities of Mexico have been almost completely without cases of swine flu, but have had their economies devastated by the fear created by the media and governments with their unwarranted travel warnings.   In Mexico City, with over 55% of all cases in Mexico, .0004% (4 ten-thousandths of one percent) of the people have had swine flu, way less in all other areas of Mexico.  Cruise ships run up and down the US and Canada coastlines, where hundreds of cases of swine flu exist while boycotting Mexican port towns like Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Cozumel and Costa Maya where there has yet to be a single case of swine flu confirmed.   It is cited that 72 people in Mexico have died from swine flu in a population of 110 million people, 60 million of whom live in poverty, as an example of why Mexico is scary - think about the real reasons behind this.  Then consider that up to 500,000 people worldwide are estimated to die from the regular seasonal flu every year.  79 people have died from swine flu.  The hype surrounding this is crazy - the facts speak for themselves.  To us, swine flu is not news.  It's not even something we would take into consideration when deciding where to travel, and certainly not something we'd worry about during our vacation.  The WHO has always said that there is no rationale for travel restrictions, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says it's safe to travel in Mexico.  Too bad in the media-hype fearmongering, few people are listening.

RECENT NEWS ARTICLES

5/22/09 - With a clean bill of health, Mexico goes on sale
5/22/09 - On my Mexico beach vacation, swine flu was a no-show
5/21/09 - Mexico City ends swine flu alert, no new cases in a week
5/19/09 - Canada drops travel warning to Mexico - gives ok for travel
5/19/09 - UK tour operators Thompson, Thomas Cook, etc return to Mexico
5/19/09 - Swine flu panic - is it overkill?
5/19/09 - Hawaii swine flu scaring off tourists
5/19/09 - USA tops Mexico in swine flu cases
5/19/09 - H1N1 flu seems to be waning
5/19/09 - Lots of deals in Mexico after travel warning is cancelled
5/19/09 - As Mexico travel ban is eased, the country's best resorts are on sale
5/18/09 - Swine flu: tourists to return to Mexico
5/18/09 - Sweden, Denmark give the all-clear for travel to Mexico
5/18/09 - Swine flu is virtually everywhere in the USA now, CDC says
5/17/09 - Canada considering dropping travel warning to Mexico
5/17/09 - Mexico very close to containing flu spread - no risk for tourists
5/17/09 - Swine flu fears ease, making travel to Mexico inviting
5/16/09 - Newsweek: The sky isn't falling
5/16/09 - Over 100,000 Americans may have swine flu
5/16/09 - As flu panic subsides, it's time to ask questions
5/16/09 - Media needs a flu tutorial
5/16/09 - Carnival to resume stops at Mexican resorts
5/16/09 - Swine flu fears see tourists steer clear of Mexico's coastal jewel
5/16/09 - Ecuador lifts restrictions on charter flights to and from Mexico
5/16/09 - Singapore lifts quarantines against Travelers from Mexico
5/15/09 - CDC lifts warning on Mexico travel
5/15/09 - Mexico travel restrictions lifted after fall in new swine flu cases
5/15/09 - CDC: We will soon drop warning against Mexico travel
5/15/09 - UK drops travel warning - gives ok for travel to Mexico
5/14/09 - Argentina drops ban on Mexico flights
5/14/09 - Flu fears fading
5/14/09 - Mexico flu slowing, death toll unlikely to reach 100
5/14/09 - Carnival chief urges CDC to lift travel advisory
5/14/09 - ASUR sees swine flu slump in Cancun as less severe than Wilma
5/13/09 - Switzerland drops travel advisory for Mexico - says flu is mild
5/12/09 - Secrets and Dreams Resorts offer Flu-Free Guarantee
5/12/09 - More swine flu cases in US than Mexico
5/12/09 - Is Mexico dangerous?  A journalist from New York's point of view
5/12/09 - Swine flu alarm shocks Mexicans
5/11/09 - PAHO: It is safe to travel in Mexico
5/11/09 - Travel Industry: Viva La Mexico
5/11/09 - Harvard University to keep trips to Mexico
5/11/09 - Mexican tourism could lose $4 Billion due to flu scare
5/11/09 - To hear the media, swine flu was far from routine
5/11/09 - Travelers visiting Mexico despite flu
5/11/09 - Mexican Health Secretary Cordova praised for flu response
5/10/09 - Don't let fear keep you at home
5/10/09 - Declining Mexico tourism means great travel discounts
5/10/09 - Flu, what flu?  Great travel deals to Mexico await
5/10/09 - Flu outbreak in Mexico affected by poor waiting too long for treatment
5/08/09 - More Swine Flu Cases in the USA than in Mexico
5/08/09 - Swine flu spreads in U.S., world, winds down in Mexico
5/07/09 - Apple Vacations fights back with sale on Mexico packages
5/07/09 - Spirit Airlines announces $8.00 fares to Cancun
5/07/09 - Flu overhyped?  Some say officials cried "swine"
5/07/09 - CDC: Most U.S. cases of swine flu have no link to Mexico
5/06/09 - H1N1 flu under control
5/06/09 - Travel continues despite swine flu concerns
5/06/09 - Mexican leadership on swine flu saved thousands
5/06/09 - WHO praises Mexico's response to swine flu
5/06/09 - Infectious Disease Specialist: "I would absolutely go to Cancun"
5/05/09 - Swine flu no worse than regular cold
5/05/09 - "Overreaction", some medical experts say
5/05/09 - Mexico to invest $2 billion in economy hit by flu
5/05/09 - Woman tells of Cancun vacation during height of swine flu
5/05/09 - Mexico plans for return to normalcy
5/05/09 - Swine flu outbreak costs Mexico $2.2 Billion
5/05/09 - Poverty, tendency to self-medicate help drive up flu deaths in Mexico
5/05/09 - Swine flu pales compared to other viruses: Experts
5/05/09 - Mexico gets some bustle back after flu shutdown
5/05/09 - Health officials begin to ease public alerts about swine flu
5/05/09 - Cancun registers first 2 cases of H1N1
5/04/09 - Swine flu no worse than regular flu, says Napolitano
5/04/09 - Honeymoons have the beach to themselves in Cancun
5/04/09 - Swine flu danger possibly overrated
5/04/09 - Phillipines lifts agri-ban on Mexican Pork
5/04/09 - Mexico lowers swine flu alert level
5/04/09 - Mexico plans to lift swine flu shutdown
5/04/09 - Mexico's economy set for more damage as flu wanes
5/04/09 - Mexico breathes easier in flu epidemic
5/03/09 - Mexico says the worst is over, might be no worse than regular flu
5/03/09 - Swine flu wanes in Mexico, rises other places
5/03/09 - Mexico flu epidemic in it's phase of decline
5/03/09 - Hysteria over swine flu is the real danger, some say
5/03.09 - First swine flu case confirmed in Quintana Roo  (Chetumal)
5/02/09 - Mexican officals say flu's ability to spread may be low
5/02/09 - Scope of swine flu in Mexico might be smaller than feared
5/02/09 - Hope aired as swine flu virus seen as less lethal
5/01/09 - Scientists say swine flu is a very mild strain
5/01/09 - CDC: 56,000 people dead from regular flu in 2006
5/01/09 - Still no swine flu in Cancun or Riviera Maya (Official Statement)
5/01/09 - Swine flu virus starting to look less threatening
5/01/09 - Mexico Sees Swine Flu Outbreak Easing
5/01/09 - Swine Flu May Have Originated in California
5/01/09 - Mexican flu outbreak may be mild
5/01/09 - WHO: No rationale for travel restrictions (Official Statement)
5/01/09 - Mexico encouraged by fall in new flu cases
5/01/09 - Swine flu a fairly mild strain, doctors say
5/01/09 - Hyping swine flu may not be healthy
4/30/09 - Quintana Roo reinforces preventative measures (Official Statement)
4/30/09 - Number of new swine flu cases stabilizing in Mexico
4/30/09 - Seasonal flu killing more people than swine flu
4/30/09 - Scientists see this strain of swine flu as relatively mild
4/29/09 - US swine flu no worse than regular flu, experts say
4/29/09 - Canada's Mexico travel advisory earns criticism
4/28/09 - Regular flu (not swine) has killed thousands since January

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q:  I'm scared.  Should I cancel my trip?
A: 
We suggest reading the Myth-Busters below before making any decision.  You should make the best decision for you.  Right now, in our personal opinion (as well as the opinion of the World Health Organization) we see no reason to cancel a trip to Cancun because there have only been 7 cases in a city of nearly 600,000 people (most cities in the USA have more than that now), and experts agree that swine flu has proven to be less dangerous than the regular old seasonal flu in any case. If you don't worry about getting the regular flu when on vacation (we don't), it doesn't make sense to worry about swine flu, but if you still want to cancel, some of the airlines and hotels are offering you the ability to reschedule or a few are even letting you cancel, although most have now returned to their regular cancellation policies with the dropping of the travel warnings.  Talk with your provider to see what they offer in terms of flexibility.

 

Q:  What if I come to Cancun and get Swine Flu?
A: 
The odds of this are miniscule.  There have been only 7 confirmed cases of swine flu in Cancun or the Riviera Maya.  If you were to get it, every hotel has a doctor on call, and the hospitals are stocked with Tamiflu, but usually it will just go away on its own like any flu bug.  Symptoms are basically the same as the regular flu that everyone has had.  This is nothing like the bird flu.  Of course, 7 people in a city of 600,000 people makes this chance very remote in any case.  If you stay at Secrets, Dreams, Royal, or El Dorado resorts, you will actually get three free vacations if you contract swine flu while staying at their hotels - that's how safe it is here for tourists in Cancun.

 

Q:  If I come to Cancun, will restaurants, bars, etc be open?  Mexico looks like a ghost town on television.
A: 
This was Mexico City when the scare first broke - it was never like that in Cancun, and Mexico City is open as normal too now that the flu has been shown to be less dangerous and less contagious than the regular seasonal flu.  Mexico City is 1,100 miles from Cancun (about the entire north-south dimension of the USA).   In Cancun, everything is open and running as normal.  No disruptions at all to your vacation that we can see.  All  restaurants, bars, tours, night clubs, etc are running like normal.  The only real difference is that there are now fewer tourists due to the scare.  Mexicans are going on about business as normal.  No masks, no deserted streets.  Just fun in the sun. 

 

Q:  I heard that Cancun shut down the Mayan Ruins due to swine flu.  Is that true?
A:  The ruins were closed for about a week, but they are all open now as usual.

Q:  Is there a reason to visit Mexico during this time?  Maybe I should reschedule.
A:  Other than this being a great time of year in the Mexican Caribbean, and that there is no reason not to, there are some great deals to be had on hotels and airfares right now.  Funjet is offering some incredible deals.  Apple Vacations is offering discounts of up to 70%. Spirit Airlines is offering $8.00 airfares, some hotels are offering to pay your airfare or give you free or low-cost upgrades to a suite.  You can save a bundle by booking your vacation this month.  Secrets and Dreams resorts are even offering a flu-free guarantee where if you get swine flu, they'll give you three free vacations!

 

For more general FAQ's about Influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) see the World Health Organization's Frequently Asked Questions.

 

SWINE FLU MYTH-BUSTERS


MYTH #1 - SWINE FLU IS RAMPID IN CANCUN
FACT:
Contrary to what you may have read in Media reports, there have only ever been 7 confirmed cases of swine flu in Cancun.  There has still been no swine flu detected in Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, or the Riviera Maya. It was only a matter of time, we suppose, as it had already spread throughout almost all of North America and much of Europe when the 7 cases happened.  See this handy swine flu map, put out by the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).  It shows the confirmed cases so far.  Compare this to the 707 cases in Illinois or the 766 cases in Wisconsin alone.  7 cases of the flu in a city of 600,000 people, and 11 cases in a state of over 1.1 million people is hardly an epidemic, and the people of Quintana Roo are not at all concerned.  Keep in mind that the swine flu is no worse than a regular case of the flu.  You can catch the flu anywhere you go, at any time, and there is almost certainly more outbreak of swine flu in your state, town, or perhaps even school, than there is in Cancun.

 

MYTH #2 - IF I TRAVEL TO MEXICO, I'LL GET SWINE FLU
FACT:
The World Health Organization is still advising against any travel restrictions to Mexico, but the political reality of some governments is causing them not to listen.  See Update Here.  There is likely swine flu in or around your hometown, but only 7 cases in Cancun, so the way we figure it you likely have more chance of getting it at home than here.  If you were to get it, you wouldn't feel it until you got home to your own bed, and it is no worse than the regular flu, which probably everyone reading this has had at one time or another.  It would not affect your vacation, unless you had a very long stay.  Keep in mind that there are now many more cases of swine flu in the USA than in Mexico.

 

MYTH #3 - I WILL BE MUCH SAFER IN THE USA THAN IN MEXICO
FACT: 
Keep in mind that there are currently 5123 confirmed cases of swine flu in the USA and 3648 confirmed cases in Mexico. See the Report.  The combined population of the two countries is 415 million people.  In Cancun, there have been 7 cases of the flu in a city of 600,000 people.  That's a .0001% (One-Ten-Thousandths of a Percent) chance.  If you live in Wisconsin, for example, you have a .001% chance - 10 times more likely than if you are in Cancun.

 

MYTH #4 - IF I GET SWINE FLU, I'LL DIE!
So far, out of the nearly 7 billion people in the world, 79 have been confirmed to have died from swine flu.  That is 1 out of every 100 million people.  In all the rest of the cases, people have recovered within a few days, much as you would with the regular flu.  56,000 people died of the regular seasonal flu in the USA alone in the last reported year, and over 13,000 have died from the regular flu so far this year.  Meanwhile, a grand total of six people have died due to the swine flu in the USA out of a country of 300 million people, all with severe underlying health problems.  Chicken Pox is more dangerous.  94 people every day die in a car crash in the USA alone.  8 people every month are killed by lightning in the USA.  Swine flu symptoms are no different than the regular flu, which everyone has had at one time or another, and it is milder and less dangerous than the regular old seasonal flu.  Once everyone realized that, it's almost completely out of the news.  4 times more chance of being killed by lightning....think about that.

MYTH #5 - I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO WEAR A MASK ON VACATION!
The only mask anyone is wearing in Cancun is a snorkeling mask.  People are going on about their lives like normal.  Only 7 cases in a city of 600,000 people in Cancun, zero cases in Playa del Carmen, Cozumel or the Riviera Maya, and this is just a regular old run of the mill flu bug.  Nobody is concerned here.  That said, you will see masks on employees at grocery stores and airport, and they will take your temperature when you leave the airport as a precaution.

 

These are the facts as they stand right now regarding Swine Flu.  That said, make sure to monitor sites like the WHO and their swine flu map, as well as those from your travel agency and the CDC (though we believe the WHO is less prone to politics and therefore more reliable).  Please don't depend on the ratings-based cable news channels for your information, it is the least reliable source of verifiable information.  You can also find current reports from locals and current visitors on the TripAdvisor Forums for Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.  We're also following updates for Swine Flu in Puerto Vallarta.

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