Swine flu epidemic: Precautions to take

An epidemic of swine flu has been declared in Mexico , particularly in the capital, Mexico City, and in the state of San Luis Potosi to the north of Mexico City.
The H1N1 influenza A virus is transmitted by droplets in exhaled air , particularly when sneezing, saliva or excrement.


The incubation period is one week. The virus is destroyed by cooking at over 70°c. Clinical symptoms are those usually observed during winter flu epidemics, i.e. fever, diffuse pain, fatigue, nasal catarrh, cough… To date no human-to-human transmission has been noted outside Mexico, but such cases could arise at any time. Many countries have taken measures to control aircraft arrivals from affected areas.

The virus is currently sensitive to Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and Zanamivir (Relenza®). This treatment must be taken on the basis of a prescription and medical recommendations. In fact, if these substances are taken without due consideration, they could lead to virus resistance in the medium term, making treatment more difficult.

Recommendations to follow

  1. Delay unnecessary travel. A deterioration in the situation could lead to drastic restrictions on travel, particularly international travel.

2. For people living in Mexico, please follow the local recommendations carefully:

  • Avoid going to public gatherings if your presence is not essential
  • Avoid travelling to rural areas
  • Wear masks when outdoors or in contact with sick people
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before meals
  • Consult a doctor immediately if symptoms appear

Anyone who has been back from Mexico for less than 10 days and notices any symptoms should consult their doctor immediately, giving details of their travels.

When visiting Mexico, remember to take out travel insurance, which is essential if you want to be better reimbursed in the event of a problem.

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