Home > News > Swine Flu 11556

Travel advice on swine flu

Latest from the FCO

April 28, 2009

Mexico map

Reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed fears that the deadly swine flu virus first detected in Mexico can no longer be contained.

The announcement came after the number of deaths from the virus in Mexico had officially risen to 152, while milder strains of the virus have been confirmed in the US, Canada, Spain and the UK.

WHO assistant director general Keiji Fukuda announced the organisation's move to raise the level of alert from three to four, placing it just two steps from declaring a full pandemic.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease with symptoms that mimic those of the regular influenza virus, and it is thought to be spread by coughing and sneezing.

In response to the announcements, ABTA's head of communications Casia Zajac, said: "Clearly, this is a very fluid situation and of concern to the travelling public. ABTA Members are monitoring and reviewing their policies constantly as the situation unfolds so that consumers who’ve booked packages to Mexico can be reassured that every effort is being made to ensure they are looked after and have options available to them."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all non-essential travel to Mexico, and has published travel advice for those planning trips to North and Central America and the Caribbean on its website. The relevant summary points advise:

"Visitors to Mexico should be aware of an outbreak of influenza. The Federal Health Ministry issued a nationwide alert on April 22 after learning that a number of people had died from what appears to be a new form of influenza.

"The Mexican Secretariat of Health has advised people to avoid large crowds, shaking hands, kissing people as a greeting, or using the subway. Maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other persons and frequent hand washing may decrease the risk of exposure."

Holiday Extras will be providing regular updates on the outbreak of swine flu, as and when news is released.