The Zika Virus in Mexico: What You Need to Know

General Zika (ZIKV) Information

The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is transmitted by the same type of mosquito linked to dengue and chikungunya.

Cases have been identified across four continents. It has been detected in more than 27 countries in the Americas, including the United States.

One of the major concerns regarding Zika is that its spread may be linked to birth defects such as microcephaly, prompting some countries to advise pregnant women against going to areas where Zika has been detected.

Symptoms can include mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and a general feeling of illness that begins two to seven days after infection. Four out of five people who are infected show no symptoms at all. If you are not a woman of childbearing age, pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, the Zika virus is unlikely to cause you any serious trouble.

ZIKV (Zika virus) cannot be transmitted from person to person through air, food, or water. Nevertheless, the virus can be transmitted via sexual contact and there are strong indications of infection via blood transfusion.

There have been no deaths in Mexico attributed to the Zika Virus so far. Those infected usually just need to take aspirin, drink water, and get lots of rest, but aspirin and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out. Medicine such as acetaminophen is suggested to relieve fever and pain. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There is no known vaccine or cure for Zika at this time.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is developing a Zika vaccine that shows promise in its first phase of testing. As part of its phase two trial, the NIAID is “currently leading an international effort to evaluate” the vaccine. Mexico is part of this international effort.

Important Update: On November 18, 2016, the World Health Organization declared that Zika was no longer a global health emergency and should be considered a dangerous mosquito-borne virus, like malaria or yellow fever. Read, “Zika Is No Longer a Global Emergency”


There has been 1 confirmed case of Zika across Mexico in 2020, but we will continue to carefully monitor the situation. Find a state-by-state breakdown here:

StateNumber of confirmed cases
Baja California0
Baja California Sur0
Nuevo Leon0
Quintana Roo0
San Luis Potosi0

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has no current ZIKV notice for Mexico, but it acknowledges there’s a risk of Zika Virus in the country.

Mexico has, and continues to take, steps to prevent the spread of the Zika virus infection through public service announcements, campaigns and preventive travel advisories and warnings. Mexico’s Epidemiological Surveillance System is fully prepared to recognize and diagnose infections by the Zika virus.

The WHO has stated that “there should be no restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.”

There are currently no restrictions against travelers visiting Mexico. Both the US Government and Mexican authorities have not placed a general restriction on visiting Mexico, only urged caution to prevent mosquito bites.


  • Stay informed about the ZIKV situation as it develops.
  • Prevent mosquito bites by covering exposed skin with sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
  • Sleep under a mosquito net to prevent bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents on exposed skin and reapply as directed. Insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are very effective and safe when used according to the label. If you’re also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
  • The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant in any trimester consider postponing travel to areas where there’s a risk of Zika virus transmission. If pregnant women do opt to travel to Zika affected areas, the CDC recommends avoiding mosquito bites during their trip. Specific guidance for women who are trying to become pregnant is also included in the CDC advisory.


At Journey Mexico, we take the health of our clients very seriously, but we strongly believe that the Zika virus does not pose an extraordinary threat to our travelers.

We have no known cases of Zika with any of our passengers, staff members, and guides. We continue to monitor Mexico’s specific situation.

We advise, as always, to travel sensibly and take precautions to avoid getting mosquito bites, as they can also transmit other diseases, like dengue. We are only recommending that pregnant women consider visiting Mexico at another time in accordance with CDC/WHO advice. If you’re considering Mexico as a destination for future travel, we recommend purchasing travel insurance.

The mosquitoes that spread Zika usually do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) because of environmental conditions. Travelers whose itineraries are limited to areas above this elevation are at minimal risk of getting Zika from a mosquito.

*The categories shown on this map are intended as a general guideline and should not be considered to indicate absolute risk. Elevation may vary within an area to a larger extent than this map can depict. The presence of mosquitoes may change seasonally, with increasing temperatures or rainfall, and may change over time.

To view Mexico’s Secretary of Health’s most recent update of confirmed cases in a state-by-state assessment click here and scroll down to ‘Documentos’ and click on the arrow next to “Cuadro Casos Zika.”

 Messages from the Mexico Tourism Board

Facts About Travel to Mexico - Oct 2016

Zika Virus Cases Are NOT Reasons to Change Travel Plans

Mexico Map Indicating Location of Zika - Apr 2016

Mexico Tourism Board’s Regional Director for North America, Rodrigo Esponda, said in an interview with Travel Weekly: “Zika is not particular to any destination. Where it has existed in Mexico has been very localized, and there have been very few cases. Throughout the years Mexico has had effective campaigns to eradicate other mosquito-borne diseases. The campaign has been done in the tropical areas, mostly the south and the rural areas, and these campaigns have been very effective. The places where Zika has taken place have been specific and rural with difficult access. It has not been an element that is present in the resorts.”


source: Travel Weekly / One-on-one with tourism board director by Meagan Drillinger

Mexico Map Indicating Location of Zika - Feb 2016

In an effort to help travelers understand precisely where in Mexico cases of the Zika virus have been found the Mexico Tourism Board released a map indicating where Zika has been reported.

“All of the resort areas are Zika-free … the Zika problem is not throughout the country,” said Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, CEO of Mexico’s Tourism Board.

Negrete noted that there are currently 65 reported Zika cases in Mexico. Of those, 35 are in Chiapas, 21 in Oaxaca, four in Nueva Leon, and one each in Jalisco, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Veracruz, and Yucatan.

zika mexico map

source: Travel Weekly / Mexico draws map indicating location of Zika cases by Michelle Baran

Mexico Remains Proactive in Reducing Risk of Zika Virus

February 9, 2016 – Mexico City –  No need to cancel vacation plans to Mexico’s top hot spots as the Mexico Tourism Board continues to improve on efforts to reduce the risk of Zika virus, especially in major international tourism destinations.

Through ongoing proactive communications and meetings with tourism destinations and travel partners, the goal is to keep the flow of information sharing open through open dialogue. Preventive measures and educational materials have been developed and disseminated, including posters and key facts; and infection reducing procedures are being reinforced.

“Our Mexico Tourism partners continue to demonstrate their strength in addressing travelers’ concerns,” states Jack E. Richards, President and CEO of Pleasant Holidays. “It’s very clear they are committed to being very proactive to reduce the risk of Zika, especially in the primary beach destinations of Huatulco, Mazatlan, Vallarta-Nayarit, Ixtapa, Cancun, Riviera Maya, and Los Cabos. The Mexico Tourism Board sets a high standard for others to follow in similar situations.”

In a related survey released by the Travel Leader’s Group conducted to gauge the impact of the Zika virus on vacation travel, their findings note the majority of travelers are continuing with their travel plans where there have been confirmed Zika virus cases.

The latest reports from Mexico are a total of 65 cases in only 8 states. Of the prior 34 reported cases, patients are on the road to recovery and new cases will be treated immediately. The Zika virus reported is a low-grade strain and non-life threatening. It is important to note that the cases in Mexico represent a nominal percentage (less than .003%) of all the cases, globally.

“The reality is Zika virus does not pose a massive risk to health in Mexico,” notes Pablo Kuri Morales, Mexican Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) February 1, 2016 statement confirms there is no reason to cancel or change travel plans to any country reporting Zika virus cases, including for pregnant women. With this advisory applying to all countries, even those with high numbers of cases, it’s yet another reason that Mexico, with a very low number of cases, continues to be a destination that millions of tourists are visiting each month.

Zika Virus Poses No Risk to Mexico Tourists
February 3, 2015 – Officials from Mexico’s Ministry of Health met with tour operators from the United States and Canada yesterday in Cancun, Mexico, at a meeting organized by the Mexico Tourism Board.

The meeting focused on a report of the latest Zika virus facts, the prevention and containment efforts by the Mexican government and tourism industry, and continued practice of close coordination with the international tourism industry.

Dr. Alberto Diaz Quiñonez, Deputy General Director of the Mexican Institute for Diagnostic and Epidemiology, shared that Mexico has only 34 confirmed cases of the Zika virus, representing just 0.03% of the total cases reported globally. All of these cases are from Mexican nationals living in rural areas, far from the tourist destinations frequently visited by international tourists.

Dr. Diaz shared, “While the Zika virus is inevitable in Mexico given its vast size, climate and trade in the region, the number of cases remains very low. Strong prevention efforts have already been in practice for years to prevent similar diseases.” He went on to emphasize, “Given these facts, there is no threat to tourists visiting Mexico.”

For several years Mexico’s major tourist destinations and businesses have practiced world-class procedures to control the mosquito population and minimize cases of dengue and other diseases.

Hotels, restaurants, airports, and other areas frequently visited by tourists have in place mosquito eradication practices and closely follow international guidelines to monitor and control their growth. Given that the Zika virus is contracted in a manner similar to other mosquito-borne diseases that Mexico has long been combating, the entire country and especially its tourist destinations, are already well prepared to contain this latest disease.

Dr. Diaz referenced the World Health Organization (WHO)’s February 1, 2016, statement confirming that there is no reason to cancel or change travel plans to any country reporting Zika cases, including for pregnant women. With this advisory applying to all countries, even those with high numbers of cases, it’s yet another reason that Mexico, with a very low number of cases, continues to be a destination that millions of tourists are visiting each month.

Following the meeting, the group of international tour operators affirmed that Mexico’s comprehensive preparations and control measures give them the confidence to continue to recommend travel to Mexico for all tourists.

Mexico tourism industry not impacted by the Zika Virus
Mexico City, Mexico, January 21, 2016 – The Mexico Tourism Board reported that the Zika virus infection is a new and emerging disease in the country with only a minimal number of cases identified. Epidemiologic studies have found that the virus is under control in the country. With very few cases identified and containment efforts in place the tourism industry in Mexico has not been affected and is not at risk.

The Ministry of Health of Mexico launched a variety of measures to maintain epidemiological control of the virus and limit its potential to spread. As the Zika virus infection is similar to that of dengue and chikungunya, prevention programs, health communication activities, and epidemiology screenings implemented since 2014, have helped to minimize the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the country.

Measures to prevent and control the virus will remain in place to inhibit an outbreak. Additionally, stronger clinical services and operations, epidemiology screenings, health communication programs, and vector control efforts have been deployed.

The Mexico Tourism Board urges visitors to follow the guidelines presented by the Ministry of Health of Mexico to reduce the chance of mosquito bites.

Recommendations for the public and pregnant women:
• Wear long sleeves, pants, and bug repellant
• Wash and cover the containers and dishes that hold water
• Keep doors and windows closed and use screens
• Follow prenatal care guidelines


Sources & More:

Latin American Travel Association – Zika Virus Questions and Answers (Mar 2, 2016)
World Tourism Organization UNWTO – Zika Statement
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Zika
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During Zika Outbreak
Pan American Health Organization – Zika
Mexican Government – Zika Virus Infection in Mexico
Mexico’s Secretary of Health – Zika (Spanish)
The Guardian – Zika Virus Spreading Explosively – Zika Virus in Mexico

This post was written and published on January 29, 2016. As information continues to evolve with research and reported cases, we will add update this post as best as we can, noting any additions. We recommend the CDC website for the most up to date information.