Mexico is becoming a very popular destination for Irish travellers. The country has many well known tourist destinations including the idyllic resort of Acapulco on the Pacific Ocean and t
The country experiences a wide temperature profile with cool to cold temperatures on the mountainous ranges to a hot sub-tropical climate on the sea coasts. There is a rainy season from June to October and a dry season from November to May each year. Temperatures in April May and June tend to be in the mid 20’s centigrade. The southern and eastern regions tend to experience the heaviest rainfall.
Food & Water
Some tourists visiting Mexico will undertake a trekking holiday for part of their time in the country. This will bring them out from the major cities into many of the poorer regions of the country. In these areas the level of food and water hygiene may be poor and travellers need to exercise continuous caution in this regard. Typically great care should be taken with the consumption of any cold foods. Lettuce would be a common cause of illness and should be avoided. Undercooked shellfish (prawns, oysters, mussels etc.) should be avoided at any time. The risk of contamination with a variety of diseases is just too high.
Many of the larger towns have a number of street vendors selling their produce on the side of the road. In general purchases of food from these vendors should be avoided. This is especially true with regard to buying ‘freshly squeezed’ fruit juice drinks. In some cases potentially contaminated tap water may have been used to supplement the supply. Another particular risk in Mexico involves the purchase of water melons from the market place. These are usually sold by their weight and it is reported that certain vendors may inject them with tap water to increase their value. Be sensible and take care.
This is another viral disease that occurs throughout Mexico. 69 cases of human Rabies were reported in 1990 but this figure has dropped to 24 in 1995. The disease is transmitted through the bite of any infected warm blooded animal (dog, cats, monkey etc.). Animals should be avoided at all costs and any bite (lick or scratch) should be immediately washed out with water and then have a strong antiseptic applied. The individual should then always seek urgent competent medical attention. Cycling in the early morning is a high risk time. Dogs may become agitated and run out at the bicycle.
Protection against Mosquitoes & Sandflys
Travellers will need to exercise care against mosquito bites throughout the year and this has become particularly important due to regular outbreaks of Dengue Fever. This viral disease has swept through the Caribbean region over the past decade and Mexico has also been involved. There were approx. 4,500 cases during 1995 with about 16 deaths. More recently (Oct ‘99) the disease has been reported close to the US border with over 5000 patients affected. The disease seldom kills travellers but causes a severe flu like illness and pronounced skin rash in many of those infected. It is an unpleasant disease and can leave an individual ill for many weeks after infection. The mosquitoes can bite during the day or night. Most tourists should take care against mosquitoes by;
Using adequate Insect Repellent
Covering up well with pale coloured clothing
Refraining from using Perfumes or Aftershaves at the risk times for bites.
For many tourists to Mexico the chance of contracting malaria is negligible. The disease does occur in some of the country and those planning to trek through the rural areas may be advised to consider prophylaxis. The states most affected are Oaxaca, Hiapas, Sinaloa, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Nayarit, Tabasco, Michoacán, Chihuahua and Hidalgo. The risk extends throughout the year and visitors to these regions always should consider adequate malaria prophylaxis.
Walking on the beach above the high tide mark in many of the hotter countries without shoe covering may expose the traveller to infection with the Larva Migrans parasite. Mexico is no exception. This minute worm penetrates through the skin and causes a significant irritation just under the skin in those infected. The rash moves and becomes very itchy. Treatment is straightforward once a diagnosis is reached. Travellers walking along the beaches (above the high tide mark) should always wear shoe covering and avoid sitting straight on the sand.
No vaccines are essential for entry to Mexico however, in most cases, short term travellers will be advised to consider vaccination cover for;
Tetanus (childhood booster)
Typhoid (food & water borne)
Hepatitis A (food & water borne)
For those undertaking a trekking holiday (or those who will live in the region for some months) vaccination cover against Rabies (animal bites), Meningococcal Meningitis (air borne) and Hepatitis B (accidents) may need to be considered.
Further information on staying healthy while abroad may be obtained from the Tropical Medical Bureau.
Travel News Headlines WORLD NEWS
Mexico City, Sept 20, 2019 (AFP) - Lorena made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, lashing the turquoise waters of popular beach destination Los Cabos on Mexico's Baja California peninsula. "The eye of Hurricane Lorena is now passing over the coast of Los Cabos," Mexico's hurricane monitor, CONAGUA, wrote on Twitter.
The hurricane, which has been churning up the Pacific coast, first made landfall Thursday in west-central Mexico, then was briefly downgraded to a tropical storm before moving back over the water and regaining strength. According to CONAGUA, Lorena was packing sustained winds of 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour as it battered Los Cabos, making it a Category One hurricane on the scale of one to five. After moving slowly northwest throughout the morning, it ground to a halt 70 kilometres from the beach town of Cabo San Lucas, dumping torrential rain on the area.
The US National Hurricane Center said the storm was expected to pour up to 20 centimetres (eight inches) of rain on the region, which "may result in flash flooding." It warned that the storm's trajectory was "highly uncertain." "Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours if Lorena moves inland. If the hurricane moves over the Gulf of California, it could strengthen instead," it said in its 2100 GMT update.
Lorena already buffeted west-central Mexico with strong winds, torrential rain and high waves, leading officials to cancel school in the affected areas. Authorities suspended classes in Los Cabos for Friday, and ordered all boats and ships to remain docked. The army said it had deployed troops to set up 14 emergency shelters in case they were needed.
Guadalajara, Mexico, July 1, 2019 (AFP) - A freak hail storm on Sunday struck Guadalajara, one of Mexico's most populous cities, shocking residents and trapping vehicles in a deluge of ice pellets up to two meters (yards) deep. "I've never seen such scenes in Guadalajara," said the state governor, Enrique Alfaro. "Then we ask ourselves if climate change is real. These are never-before-seen natural phenomenon," he said. "It's incredible."
Guadalajara, located north of Mexico City and with a population of around five million, has been experiencing summer temperature of around 31 Centigrade (88 Fahrenheit) in recent days. While seasonal hail storms do occur, there is no record of anything so heavy.
At least six neighbourhoods in the city outskirts woke up to ice pellets up to two meters deep. While children scampered around and hurled ice balls at each other, Civil Protection personnel and soldiers brought out heavy machinery to clear the roads. Nearly 200 homes and businesses reported hail damage, and at least 50 vehicles were swept away by the deluge of ice in hilly areas, some buried under piles of pellets. While no casualties were reported, two people showed "early signs of hypothermia," the state Civil Protection office said.
The toll from a rainstorm that hit the city of Reynosa on Monday night is two deaths and 57 flooded neighbourhoods, authorities say. The intense rains flooded thousands of homes across the Tamaulipas border city, and in some places floodwaters were over a meter and a half deep. United States authorities had warned that the storm could affect cities in the Río Grande Valley. But Mexico’s National Meteorological Service had only forecast moderate to intense rains.
As the water began to rise, the army responded to rescue people from their homes. A total of 92 people were taken to temporary shelters set up in the municipal auditorium, the stadium and the Rodhe campus of the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas. The rains also damaged Reynosa’s electrical grid, leaving 100,000 people without power for 12 hours.
Governor Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca said that municipal governments need to take measures to prevent similar flooding from happening again. “When the hurricane season started, we were working with Civil Defense in the state, and they recommended that every municipal government should work on preventative measures, especially cleaning out drains,” he said. “Because when drains are full of trash, the water level rises, and it leads to flooding.”
World Travel News Headlines
Manila, Nov 20, 2019 (AFP) - Philippine police were ordered Wednesday to arrest anyone caught vaping in public, just hours after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would ban e-cigarettes. The abrupt prohibition, revealed by Duterte late Tuesday adds to a growing global backlash against a product once promoted as less harmful than tobacco smoking.
Duterte, a former smoker, called the devices "toxic" and said vaping introduced "chemicals" into the user's body. He ordered the arrest of anyone vaping publicly in a country that already has some of Asia's toughest anti-smoking rules. No formal, written order has been made public that spells out the scope of the ban or penalties for violations. Duterte is notorious internationally for his deadly anti-narcotics crackdown, but he has also targeted tobacco with a wide-ranging ban on smoking in public. Citing "the order of the president", on Wednesday a statement from the head of the Philippine police ordered "effective today, all police units nationwide to enforce the ban on use of vapes; ensure that all violators will be arrested".
The ban came days after Philippine health authorities reported the nation's first vaping-related lung injury, which resulted in a 16-year-old girl being hospitalised. Vaping has taken off in the Philippines, with speciality shops and vapers puffing away in public a common sight. E-cigarette users were caught off guard by the ban and questioned the utility of arresting people who, at worst, were hurting themselves. "It's inappropriate. In any case, we don't hurt people, the environment or animals," said 22-year-old student Alexis Martin. "Why are vapers being targeted?"
E-cigarettes warm flavoured liquid to produce vapour that is free of the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, but does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful. Critics say that apart from being harmful in themselves, the multiple exotic flavours of e-cigarette liquids appeal particularly to youngsters and risk getting them addicted to nicotine.
The devices have become hugely popular in the past decade but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the United States is feeding caution about the product, already banned in some places. In September 2019 India became the latest country to ban the import, sale, production and advertising of e-cigarettes, citing in particular concerns for its youth. The devices are already banned in several places such as Brazil, Singapore, Thailand and the US state of Massachusetts.
Lagos, Nov 20, 2019 (AFP) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced a campaign to end defecation in public, in a country where tens of millions of people going to the toilet outside poses a major health risk. "Nigeria has committed to end open defecation throughout the country by 2025," a statement by the presidency said a day after the United Nations marked World Toilet Day. The decree set up a new body called the Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat to ensure "that all public places including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, hospitals and offices have accessible toilets and latrines within their premises".
According to the United Nations children agency, UNICEF, Nigeria has amongst the highest number of people practising open defecation in the world, estimated at over 46 million people -- almost a quarter of the population. Around Nigeria each year 87,000 children die from diarrhoea, with more than 90 per cent of deaths caused by a lack of water, sanitation and hygiene, according to the World Bank. The new agency will be disbanded when the goal of ending open defecation has been met, the presidency said.
Kampala, Nov 20, 2019 (AFP) - Global health charity Marie Stopes said Wednesday it had recalled hundreds of thousands of faulty condoms on sale in Uganda, where HIV rates are among the highest in the world. The recall followed a warning from Uganda's National Drug Authority (NDA) that the Life Guard brand condoms had failed manufacturing "quality tests" because they contained holes and may burst. The affected condoms were manufactured by India-based MHL Healthcare in April 2019 and have an expiry date of April 2024, the government regulator said. Marie Stopes Uganda spokesman David Kamu told AFP on Wednesday that the two affected batches each contained "around 400,000" condoms.
Earlier reports had suggested millions of condoms could have been involved but NDA spokesman Fred Ssekyana told AFP the figure was below one million. Marie Stopes Uganda said more than half of the condoms of concern had been recalled. "While the LifeGuard brand follows strict quality controls, unfortunately two recent batches have fallen short of the quality we demand," the charity's country director, Carole Sekimpi, said in a statement Tuesday. Marie Stopes is the largest and most specialised sexual reproductive health organisation in Uganda, the charity says on its website. According to UNAIDS, 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV. Last year 53,000 people were newly infected with the disease in the East African country, the UN agency said.
Luanda, Nov 20, 2019 (AFP) - Angola recorded an outbreak of polio this week after almost a decade without cases of the paralysing viral disease, the government said. The highly infectious condition mainly affects children under the age of five. It attacks the nervous system and can lead to total paralysis, or in some cases death. "After seven years without polio we are unfortunately confronted with a difficult situation," Angola's health minister Sante Silvia Lutucuta said on Monday, at the launch of a new vaccination campaign in the capital Luanda. "We have recorded 44 new cases in ten of the country's 18 provinces," she added.
The vaccination campaign is expected to reach 2.5 million children aged five and under. "All children must be protected by three doses of the oral anti-poliomyelitis vaccine," said Lutucuta, adding that the campaign would span over two weeks to "control the epidemic". Two out of three strains of the wild polio virus have been eradicated so far, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While only 33 wild polio cases were reported globally last year, vaccine-derived polio still breaks out sporadically in some parts of Africa and Asia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all travellers to Angola be fully vaccinated against the virus.
Bangkok, Nov 21, 2019 (AFP) - A 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit north-western Laos near the Thai border early Thursday, the United States Geological Survey reported. The shallow quake hit at 6:50 am local time (2350 Wednesday GMT), USGS said.
Sydney, Nov 21, 2019 (AFP) - The fire danger was elevated across wider swathes of southern Australia on Thursday, with residents warned to avoid at-risk areas as smoke from bushfires choked Sydney and other major cities. Devastating fires along the country's east coast have claimed six lives and destroyed more than 500 homes since mid-October, with climate change and unseasonably hot, dry conditions fuelling the unprecedented blazes. Now the fire danger has moved into states further south, with a so-called "Code Red" -- the highest possible fire risk in Victoria -- being declared in the state's northwest for the first time in a decade. "What that means is that if we see fires in those areas they will be fast moving, they will be unpredictable, they will be uncontrollable," emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters.
Country Fire Authority chief Steve Warrington told people living in rural areas to leave for the safety of cities. "We are saying, 'do not be there, do not be there when a fire occurs, because you will not survive if you are there'," he said. "There is a good chance if a fire occurs that your home will be destroyed." The fire danger was also elevated to "severe" in the island state of Tasmania off mainland Australia's southeastern coast, where a total fire ban was declared. Two bushfires in the state's northeast did not pose an immediate threat to residents, the Tasmania Fire Service said.
For the second time in two days, smoke from bushfires blanketed Sydney, Australia's biggest city and home to more than five million people, sending air quality plummeting to hazardous levels. More than 110 fires are still burning in worst-hit New South Wales and neighbouring Queensland, while in South Australia more than 40 fires broke out during catastrophic fire conditions Wednesday. A South Australia Country Fire Service spokeswoman said all of those blazes had been brought under control or extinguished by Thursday, with the exception of a major fire on the Yorke Peninsula that had come perilously close to a small town.
Conditions were expected to ease in the coming days in South Australia, where the state capital Adelaide was also shrouded in bushfire smoke and residents were being told to stay indoors for health reasons. Bushfire-prone Australia has experienced a horror start to its fire season, which scientists say is beginning earlier and becoming more extreme as climate change pushes temperatures higher and saps moisture from the environment after months of severe drought. Growing calls to curb fossil fuels and drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions are being ignored by the country's conservative government, which is eager to protect its lucrative mining industry. The country is bracing for challenging fire conditions to continue throughout the Southern Hemisphere summer.
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