After the news of the first case of an individual infected with the Ebola virus in the United States, the government of Yucatan announced extraordinary health measures in order to avoid the possible arrival of the virus.
The actions obey to the fact that the worst Ebola outbreak in history is currently ravaging West Africa, and this desease could spread with no control if governments around the world do not take the proper prevention measures.
The current outbreak is caused by the Zaire strain of the virus – the most deadly of the 5 known variations of Ebola.
The first confirmed case of Ebola was detected in Dallas, Texas; and there are several direct flights between the cities of Houston and Merida.
Even though Dallas is 240 miles away from Dallas, and the risk of an Ebola epidemic hitting the Yucatán is low, that does not seem to quell the panic boiling over on Twitter, where pesimistic users are fearfully predicting a dire, deadly worldwide outbreak.
While the average Mexican citizen may not have all the facts about Ebola, the current situation can be a great opportunity to teach them, for instance about infection control and about the need to build up health systems in developing countries, like Mexico.
Dallas and Merida have indirect connections to several international flights. Additionally, Cancun, a tourist destination with a strong ‘exchange’ of visitors with the Dallas International Airport, is just 200 miles away from the Yucatecan Capital.
Jorge Mendoza Mézquita, Yucatán State Health Secretary declared: “The strategy for the control of an Ebola outbreak is based on established standard regulations. We have several advantages, first of all, no flights come directly from Africa, all these flights land somewhere else and then come to Merida.” he said.
He added that all arrivals are being monitored, and the Mexican Airports workers, Port Authorities, Immigration Officials, Foreign Affairs Agents and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Staff, ASUR, among others, are trained and insrtucted to handle a possible Ebola case and know how to implement security measures as part of the actions performed by the Secretariat of Health (SSE) for prevention.
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