Here’s What Mexican Caribbean Travelers Need To Know To Stay Safe From Dengue

Here's What Mexican Caribbean Travelers Need To Know To Stay Safe From Dengue

The cases of dengue are increasing across the Mexican Caribbean this year and travelers need to be sure to take preventative measures against the mosquito-borne disease when visiting the area on a vacation getaway.

Here’s what we know so far about the increasing threat of tropical disease in the area.

Risk High in the Mexican Caribbean

According to the now finalized numbers from the Mexico Ministry of Health, the State of the Yucatan, located west of Cancun and includes the popular tourist destination of Merida, had the highest level of deaths from dengue in 27 years in 2023. 

A total of 71 people lost their lives to the tropical disease out of a total of more than 10,000 cases statewide.

Overall, it was the third highest region in the country for numbers of people affected with the illness.

In the State of Quintana Roo, which includes popular tourist hotspots such as Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, a total of 40 people lost their lives last year from dengue. There were more than 5,300 cases in the state alone.

What Exactly is Dengue?

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dengue Fever, also known as “break bone fever” in spread in tropical areas by mosquito bites and affects up to 400 million people every year

Most people experience mild symptoms of the disease, such as aches and pains typically behind the eyes; nausea, vomiting and a rash. The symptoms usually start about two weeks after being bit by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms that are an emergency and require immediate medical care include stomach pain, bleeding, excessive vomiting or feeling extremely tired or restless. About one in 20 will have symptoms which require emergency medical care.

How to Treat and Prevent Dengue 

Dengue usually lasts for two to seven days and is treated with rest, acetaminophen and drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

The CDC states that no approved medication is available for treatment of dengue and there also is no vaccine available for travelers. There is a vaccine recommended for use in children that live in a dengue prone area.

In order to prevent dengue, travelers in tropical locations, including the Mexican Caribbean, should use an approved mosquito control spray commonly available in drugstores and pharmacies.

Tourists should also wear loose fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants. 

Mosquitos commonly bite during early morning and early evening feeding times. Travelers should be aware to protect themselves especially during these times. However, mosquito bites can occur at any time, even in the evening.

Visitors to the Mexican Caribbean should avoid spending excessive amounts of time around stagnant water, ponds and pools where the mosquitos breed.

What Travelers Need to Know

Tourists visiting the Mexican Caribbean are recommended to pack a commercially available mosquito repellant in their checked-in luggage as well as a hat and acetaminophen in the event of an infection.

It should be noted that outside the United States, acetaminophen is better known as paracetamol in the event that more is needed while visiting the Mexican Caribbean.

Visitors should plan to monitor their health symptoms for signs of dengue typically within a week of two of arriving back from their vacation getaway to the sun, sand and surf of the Mexican Caribbean.

Because of the increase in dengue cases across the Mexican Caribbean region, it is recommended that visitors to the Mexican Caribbean obtain travel insurance during the time of their stay which includes emergency medical coverage and treatment for dengue.