The debate rages on: What will be the health impact of swine flu this season? Is there any greater risk for traveling to Mexican than there is staying home in the U.S.? We had this debate in my family last week. My sister and I are traveling to Oaxaca for a week to be together during the Day of the Dead at the end of this month. We’ve had our plane tickets for six months. We bought them cheap during the height of the swine flu scare last summer! She lives in Northern California and I live in North Carolina. Our annual sisterly rendezvous has taken us to places where we can meet up and have fun together. This year, she has been concerned because she is allergic to flu shots and has been advised by her physician not to get innoculated with the swine flu vaccine (which isn’t even readily available to the general public so far).
So, what to do? We went online, of course, and here’s what we discovered. As of September 27, 2009 there were:
51,675 cases of swine flu in the United States
23,375 cases of swine flu in Mexico
I was in the Los Angeles International Airport last Monday returning to North Carolina and all the visitors from Japan were wearing face masks! Rightly or not, it seems by the raw numbers that I could be at higher risk for staying home in the U.S. What do you think?
We decided to keep our travel plans and go to Oaxaca. The scare seems to be taking on a life of its own. The impact on tourism to Mexico is huge and our friends in Oaxaca tell us that there are few visitors from the U.S. and Canada. Crafts villages and the people who create textiles, pottery, wood carvings, and other art that depend upon tourism are suffering. I wonder how long it will take for Mexico to shake this stigma.
Here’s a CDC report via MSNBC: