All Clear on Travel to Costa Rica Despite a Flu Outbreak in Mexico and the U.S.
Costa Rican authorities are on alert after the recent outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, the United States and several European countries. However, no cases of the dangerous illness have been found in Costa Rica, though precautions are being taken to avoid such a situation.
A total of 14 Costa Ricans were tested for the illness after recent travel to Mexico, but their tests came back negative for the disease that has claimed upwards of 150 lives in Mexico and affected more than 2,000 people.
In accordance with suggestions by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, international airlines and airports will take part in the prevention process by evaluating passengers displaying any flu-like symptoms before they continue on to their destination. The immigration staff at Costa Rica’s two international airports will be on high alert, but there is no cause for concern when considering travel to the Central American nation that shares no border with Mexico.
Costa Rica is one of the most prepared countries in the Central American region with a fully established National Pandemic Influenza Preparation Commission (CONPPI), which is taking steps to educate the public how to avoid getting sick, as well as searching for anyone who may have been infected. They also have a website set up to keep the general public alerted.
The Minister of Health, Maria Luisa Avila, appeared on the morning news to speak about the threat, and held a conference today at 3 p.m. to provide further updates and try to calm any unnecessary fears.
All of the country’s 29 public hospitals and clinics are receiving emergency training on how to respond if the epidemic were to cross into Costa Rica, as well as special equipment to help quarantine patients if necessary.
While new strains of the flu virus evolve every year, this particular strain is a mixture between two varieties that are known to affect pigs, a strain of bird flu as well as the human flu. Due to its ability to be transmitted from human to human, the World Health Organization just raised the alert level, though they say it is not yet considered a pandemic.
Government and industry representatives have also been very clear that the new illness does not affect pork food products, all of which are still safe for consumption.
|Written by Claire Saylor|
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Filed under: Costa Rica News on April 27th, 2009