4-30-09 Mexican Swine Flu Outbreak Locations Revealed
How close are the Swine Flu outbreaks in Mexico to all of the regularly scheduled cruise ports? Not very close at all it turns out. See our full map of Mexico Outbreaks and cruise ports.
The locations of all of the known outbreaks of Swine Flu in Mexico are shown on a new map from the CDC released early Thursday morning. It shows us that most cruise ports in Mexico are actually very isolated from any current outbreaks of the virus.
If the spread of this virus don't not grow in the next few weeks and we get more notices that the form of the virus not directly related to the original cases in Mexico are a far milder form then possibly cruise ships can return to Mexico soon. To reassure cruisers, the map shows that most port stops for their ships are actually quite removed from any hot viral areas.
How can we justify saying the virus may not spread? The WHO just announced this morning (Thurs. 4-30) that they are still holding the number of confirmed H1N1 deaths in Mexico at a mere seven. It has not changed all week. They are now going through backlog specimens rather than reporting new cases. If the number of known cases in Mexico has gone up it is attributable to health offials confirming that their known cases are H1N1. It is not because new cases are being reported.
Mexico cruise ports include the East Coast ports of Progresso, Cozumel and Costa Maya, each on the Yucutan Peninsula. These Yucatan ports are easier to substitute with other island nations like Jamaica and Grand Cayman. On the West Coast "Mexican Riviera" runs the Baja ports Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada get most traffic followed by mainland stops Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Acapulco.
The problem with the West Coast, Mexican Riviera cruising region is that the Mexico ports are the only place to land. There are no alternatives. If Mexico cruising is to be completely cancelled then several ships that cruise the Mexican Riviera year round would have to relocate to other cruise regions, most likely the Caribbean. The Alaska season ends in September and many of the ships sailing there now are scheduled to return to Mexico at season's end.
Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival just went to great pains to sail two mega ships all the way around South America for year-round West Coast Mexico cruising from Los Angeles. Both of these ships are too big for the Panama Canal, so getting them to Mexico was quite a challenge. It is (would be) a shame for them to have to relocate before they even really get established in this cruising region.
And so we present this map of Mexico Swine Flu outbreaks. It actually shows a good deal of good news for cruise ports if the disease does not spread. Out of all the Mexican port cities only one has had viral breakouts, Progresso on the Yucatan Peninsula. Ships can stop calling there and find a suitable substitute island nation I am sure most cruisers would be pleased with.
But the West Coast is a far rosier picture. The breakout map shows NO viral cases on the West Coast of Mexico at all. Not in Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa or Acapulco. The entire Baja peninsula appears to only have breakouts in the large city of Mexicali, a very isolated non-coastal city about 120 miles inland, near the Cakifornia border and between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes.
Furthermore, some of the rarer cities sometimes visited by smaller lines and Holland America Ryndam of Guaymus and La Paz are also very much in the clear. Almost all of the West Coast port stops are farther away from a Mexican outbreak than I am sitting in my own home right now.
The vast majority of cases appear to be in the Cuidad de Mexico (Mexico City) Area and sprinkled between Veracruz and Monteray. Some cases are along the border mostly near Texas but a few near California. Where I live in Phoenix I have some 30 cases closer to me than any West Coast port of call city for cruise ships. The nearest to me is about 200 miles. The same location is a little close to Ensenada which I would rate as the only risk on the Mexican West Coast.
Latest Swine Flu Update
Thursday Morning news is out that Fort Worth Texas has decided to close all of its school for about two weeks. This is about the same amount of time the cruise lines have said they will refrain from stopping in Mexico while they further review the situation. I hate to reiterate that I feel this country is suffering from premature panic. I feel the progress and severity of the actual virus has been very slow, and that is a good thing, but that the global reaction to it is on a scale of an already existing pandemic.
I hate to say the media has been sensationalizing this virus,but it really has. The World Health Organization (WHO) just upgraded it to a five last night, which really only means it has crossed a border. CNN kept referring to the upgrade as "an eminent pandemic." That is an inflammatory word, implying the pandemic stage is inevitable. I have to sibcereky disagree, a pandemic is a world crisis where the disease is breaking out rapidly and virulently, causing disease in each location. That does not the describe the situation we have here at all.
In any case, it isn't up to CruiseMates to decide what the world should do, but we do have some hope that the clarity we receive about this disease in the next two weeks will lessen the current level of panic a lot. We really want to see mexico Riviera cruising return to normal as soon as possible, it is a wonderful boon to our national West Coast to have the brand new ships here this year.
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