Swine Flu Fears in Cancun

Swine flu isn’t here yet. As I write this we have no confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Cancun. But everyone is sure acting like it’s already here. I won’t bore you with details since my friend CancunCanuck has already laid it all out. Suffice to say that Mexican authorities are working very hard to stop the spread of this flu.

I’m getting emails every day from tourists wondering if they should cancel upcoming vacations to Cancun or the Riviera Maya. I’m telling everyone to wait as long as they can to make those decisions.

Something which has become clear to me in the last week is that Mexico has a significant lag time between finding a flu case “suspicious” and getting actual confirmation that a case is or is not Swine Flu. The reason for this is that there is not a lab in all of Mexico which can properly identify Swine Flu. So all samples have to be sent out of the country for identification and that takes time.

I don’t know how fast Swine Flu cases in the U.S. or Canada are confirmed, but I’ll bet it’s faster than here in Mexico. And I’m worried that this difference in identification time is skewing the data. Data which is being used by all sorts of people to make all sorts of decisions.

The fatality rate of the Swine Flu probably can’t be extrapolated until more cases are confirmed. And it’s likely that many cases in Mexico are simply not going to be reported at all, because they were so mild as to not warrant a hospital visit. Many are suspecting that when the data is fully collected this flu may not be more dangerous (in its present mutation) than a “regular” flu. But time and data will tell us this.

In the mean time I continue to tell tourists the truth, which is that it’s not here yet. And I continue to encourage them to wait as long as possible to make their decisions to change or cancel their trips to Cancun. There will only be more data later.

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61 Responses to “Swine Flu Fears in Cancun”

  1. RiverGirl
    June 4th, 2009 19:56

    amber – Please post updates as you get more information. I wish those kids a speedy recovery!

    The press here hasn’t been talking much about the flu lately but I did hear yesterday that it has spread to schools here. I am not at all sure how many cases there are here right now, but will try to find out.

    Please let me know what you learn about your daughter’s friends.

  2. nate
    June 5th, 2009 01:18


    im going june 10 to 17th im a college student so looking to party how are the clubs doing right now? and is it about normal again?

  3. Amber
    June 5th, 2009 10:28

    Update – Senior trip kids – There seems to be only 1 more boy that confirmed to have the flu from our group that I know of. Out of the other three, 1 girl is still feeling pretty rough from it. I hope that is all that comes about. My daughter is feeling fine, a little congested. It seems a lot of the kids came back congested. I am just happy that they are back and that hopefully no other child gets sick. I am really disappointed that the media and health organizations are not providing more information. The public needs the information to make informed decisions about their travel plans. Thanks for the information and concern.

  4. Laura
    June 5th, 2009 10:54

    Do you know if the kids had the swine flu for sure? Any results back yet? What resort did they stay at? I hope they are all okay. We were there all last week and had a wonderful time. Thanks for keeping us posted.

  5. RiverGirl
    June 5th, 2009 11:44

    Amber – So were any members of your daughter’s group “confirmed” as having H1N1 flu? Or not?

    Being congested could be from the fact that everything is blooming here, allergies are awful right now. And it’s very typical for people to get sick after spending time here drinking too much and not sleeping enough.

    So my question is what were those kids sick with? Were any of them confirmed with H1N1?

  6. Aoife
    June 10th, 2009 03:05


    We are heading to Cancun on June 26 how is everything over there? Concerned on whether there are restrictions on travelling and also the likelihood of catching the H1N1? It is part of our honeymoon.

  7. RiverGirl
    June 10th, 2009 11:25

    Aoife – Things in Cancun are getting back to normal now. I don’t know where you live but the likelihood of catching H1N1 here in Cancun is probably no higher than it is at home, and may be lower. Viruses do not thrive in hot humid weather, viruses spread more easily in colder, drier climates.

    Enjoy your vacation I’m sure you’ll have a great time here!

  8. James
    June 11th, 2009 10:44


    me and some friends are coming to Cancun on Monday.has the nightlife picked up?


  9. RiverGirl
    June 11th, 2009 15:55

    James – Last night (a Wednesday night) I was in the Party Zone around 10:30 pm. And it was very busy, people were everywhere and a drunk guy jumped in front of my car, had to swerve around him. So yes, things are definitely busier now.

  10. Richard
    July 5th, 2009 20:42

    hello Rivergirl –

    anything new in Cancun about the flu… other than the who meeting that just took place? looks like i’ll be there next week, so if anyplace you recommend not to visit, pls let me know. thks, richard

  11. RiverGirl
    July 9th, 2009 16:02

    Richard – I was just in Maine where there were 128 confirmed cases of H1N1…and no one was talking about it at all. As far as I know we have fewer cases here in Quintana Roo (our state). There’s no reason to worry about Swine Flu here, from what I can see you stand a bigger chance of contracting in the US.

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