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If you are traveling to Tulum in the Riviera Maya— Please read this:

Because more than two dozen American travelers in Tulum, Mexico, have recently contracted hepatitis A, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Watch.

  • A Level 1 Travel Watch notice from the CDC is the lowest of three advisories it issues, meaning it recommends travelers “practice usual precautions.”
  • The CDC website states: “As of May 1, 2015, a total of 27 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in U.S. travelers who went to Tulum, Mexico. All of the people traveled between the dates of February 15, 2015, and March 20, 2015.”
  • The CDC is recommending that travelers to Mexico get vaccinated against hepatitis A and follow all food and water precautions.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.   Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter even in microscopic amounts —from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person.

So what can you do to protect yourself during your vacation?

Travelers can easily protect themselves by making certain their vaccinations are up-to-date and following standard precautions

  • To prevent hepatitis A , travelers should be vaccinated.
  • According to the CDC, “the hepatitis A vaccine is given in 2 doses, 6 months apart. The vaccine is nearly 100% effective and has been a routine childhood vaccine in the United States since 2005.”
  • The CDC also asks that “If you returned from travel to Tulum, Mexico, in the last 14 days, talk to your doctor about receiving a dose of hepatitis A vaccine, which can prevent or reduce the symptoms of hepatitis A if given within 14 days of exposure.”

To reduce one’s risk of contracting hepatitis A, travelers can also take simple precautions.

  • Eating safe foods–such as those that are cooked and served hot, and only eating eggs that are hard-cooked, fruits and vegetables that you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself and pasteurized dairy products.

Don’t eat:

  • Food served at room temperature,
  • Food from street vendors
  • Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
  • Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish and other seafood
  • Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
  • Peelings from fruit or vegetables
  • Condiments (such as salsa) made with fresh ingredients
  • Salads
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • “Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)

Drinking safe beverages –that includes bottled water that is sealed (carbonated is safer), water that has been disinfected (boiled, filtered, treated), ice made with bottled or disinfected water, carbonated drinks, hot coffee or tea and pasteurized milk.

Don’t drink:

  • Tap or well water
  • Ice made with tap or well water
  • Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
  • Open market drinks made with fresh fruit pulp (aguas frescas)
  • Flavored ice and popsicles
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Practicing hygiene and cleanliness which begins with washing your hands often with soap.  If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick.

My Vacation Lady is here  to assist our clients and your safety and well -being is our top priority and we are therefore recommending that you speak to your personal physician if you are heading to Tulum or are thinking of booking a vacation to the Tulum area.  

The major resorts that we recommend use filtered water for serving, for ice and in preparing food but if you are going to eat outside of the resort, please follow the eating and drinking recommendations listed.  When in doubt— don’t eat it or drink it.