5 February, 2016, 12:00 am
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s health ministry on Wednesday sought to play down any impact on its tourism industry from the mosquito-borne Zika virus, emphasising the disease was under control and far from its main tourist centers.
The infection presents no risk for tourist activity, Alberto Diaz, a senior official from the health ministry, told tour operators during a meeting in Cancun, however conceding it was “inevitable” the virus would spread.
Mexico has so far confirmed 34 cases of Zika, up from 18 last week. It has not yet detected a case in a pregnant woman.
The virus has been tied to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil, raising alarms as it spreads throughout the continent. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates Zika could eventually affect as many as 4 million people in the region.
Mr Diaz, assistant director general of the government’s epidemiological institute, said the infection had led to few complications so far, and the Mexican Government was following all WHO guidelines.
There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which causes mild fever, rash and red eyes — though about four-fifths of those infected have no symptoms.