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Zika Virus Mexico | Everything you need to know - 2020 UPDATE

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

Zika Virus in Playa del Carmen [March 2020 Update]

If you are planning on traveling to. Mexico you may be worried about the Zika Virus.

In this post we are going to address some of your concerns and give you the most up to date information about Zika Virus in Playa del Carmen.

There have been NO confirmed cases of Zika at the entire Yucatan Peninsula in 2019. You can find the list of confirmed cases in Mexico separate by states below.

Overview of all confirmed Zika cases sorted by states in Mexico, from 2015 until March 2020
Confirmed Zika cases in Mexico

CDC have now downgraded its travel restrictions and they recommend that pregnant women only need to avoid traveling to to areas where there is an active outbreak of Zika. They have put together a handy map so you can see the areas where there is a current outbreak. Anywhere in purple you are advised to take precaution.

Yes there is still a small risk but there are many ways of preventing the virus (see below).

In short in Playa del Carmen, Zika isn't something you need to be worried about. Follow the guidelines, do what you can to prevent, and enjoy your vacation!

PRO TIP: When locals are using repellent, they use the well known and very effective

“Many people are concerned about the possible drawbacks of common active ingredients like DEET. EWG researchers have analyzed the science in depth and found that, with proper application and precaution, our recommended active ingredients effectively reduce risk from life-altering diseases and have very low toxicity concerns.” Source:

Because we like to make sure you have the best information keep reading to understand more about the Zika Virus and how you can help prevent it spreading.

What is the Zika Virus?

Zika is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes which typically causes asymptomatic or mild infection (fever and rash) in humans, identified originally in Africa and later in other tropical regions, including South America, where it may be associated with an increased incidence of microcephaly in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy.

Where does the Zika Virus come?

The virus is named after the Zika forest in Uganda where it was discovered in 1947 for the first time. In 1952 the first human case was reported and more cases appeared in tropical Africa, the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia. It is very likely that many cases have not been reported since the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of other common diseases.

1st of February 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the ZIKA virus is a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), because of clusters of microcephaly, increased reports of birth defects and Guillain-Barré syndrome in some areas affected by the virus.

You can read more about the history of Zika virus WHO-Homepage.

How is the Zika Virus transmitted?

  • Bite of an infected mosquito

  • Maternal-fetal transmission sex (including vaginal, anal, and oral sex)

  • Blood product transfusion

  • Organ transplantation

  • Laboratory exposure

What are the Zika Virus symptoms to look out for?

The incubation time of Zika virus disease is not certain, but is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue. Fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache are typical symptoms and last for 2-7 days.

Key facts to know about the Zika Virus

  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.

  • Sexual transmission (vaginal, anal or oral) is possible

  • People with Zika virus disease usually have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

  • Vaccinations have begun in a first-in-human trial of an experimental live, attenuated Zika virus vaccine developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

  • The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.

  • The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

If you want to read the entire fact sheet as issued by the WHO click the following link:

The above mentioned symptoms are usually experienced as mild by adults.

How can you prevent the Zika Virus?

By following these advices you can prevent mosquito bites:

  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants

  • Frequent use of repellents with active ingredients like: DEET, Picaridin, Bayrepel, Icaridin, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or IR3535

  • Choose places with air conditioning and mosquito screens

  • If sleeping outdoors or if air conditioning is not available sleep under mosquito net

Download the CDC Infographic:

Besides the above mentioned precautions you can take yourself, all the hotels, resorts and municipals are frequently fumigating their properties and the streets of the towns. As somebody who is living in Playa del Carmen for more than five years I can tell they do this regularly not only since the Zika virus is in the media. So should you see somebody in your hotel fumigating this is business as usual.

The WHO's Travel health advice on Zika virus (10th of March 2017)

"In the context of Zika virus, countries are advised that:

  • There should be no general restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.

  • Standard WHO recommendations regarding vector control at airports should be implemented in keeping with the IHR (2005). Countries should consider the disinfection of aircraft."


"Bacteria used to control the male mosquito population are not spreading Zika further"

An article on the WHO website is stating: "Wolbachia is a bacterium that can stop viruses such as, dengue and Zika from growing inside mosquitoes, therefore stopping mosquitoes from spreading these diseases to humans. When females mate with males carrying the bacteria, the eggs do not hatch, thus suppressing mosquito populations. Wolbachia bacteria are found in 60% of common insects, including butterflies, fruit flies and some mosquitoes."

The virus is included in the 2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases. After expert consultations, WHO has prioritized as the most viable R&D options to help fight the spread of Zika virus in the immediate future.

Updated: August 22, 2018

Nobody talks about the Zika Virus in Mexico anymore, but is it still a thread?

The WHO is stating: "Research is ongoing to investigate the effects of Zika virus infection on pregnancy outcomes, strategies for prevention and control, and effects of infection on other neurological disorders in children and adults."

Danger or fear mongering

Nobody cared about the virus for 68 years and all of a sudden in 2015 it gained world wide attention, as frightening photos of babies in Brazil with an extremely small and malformed brain were displayed on the front page of virtually every newspaper and magazine, on television and on the Internet.

The cause of these malformations - it was said - is the Zika virus. Even a single mosquito bite could be enough for a pregnant woman to cause so-called microcephaly in her unborn child.

Most of the kids were healthy!

On 30 October 2015, the Ministério da Saúde (the Brazilian health authority) reported that in Brazil, an exceptionally large number of children were born with too small heads. Within a single month, the culprit was found: the Zika virus.

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global health emergency due to the spread of the Zika virus and its possible association with microcephaly.

From now on, the media confidently announced that in Brazil alone, more than 4,000 babies were born with a microcephaly caused by the Zika virus. In Brazil and many other countries concerned, a certain panic now spread.

However, the allegedly 4,000 sick babies were only suspected cases, which unfortunately was mentioned only marginally in the media, if at all.

Of these 4,000 cases of suspicion, only 732 had actually been investigated. Microcephaly was found in 270 children, but only in six cases was it finally possible to establish a relationship to the Zika virus.

In the remaining 264 microcephaly cases the disability had other causes.

"We apparently saw a lot of cases Zika virus in 2016. But there was no microcephaly,"

says Christopher Dye of the World Health Organization. The difference between 2015 and 2016 "is spectacular," he says.

Health officials were predicting more than 1,000 cases of microcephaly in the northeast of Brazil last year. But there were fewer than 100, Dye and his colleagues report Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Since the surge in Brazil's microcephaly cases in 2015, many scientists began to wonder whether a second virus could be involved. Maybe another infection combines with Zika to make the disease worse and increase the risk of birth defects.

"This is a huge, huge discrepancy," Dye says. "So what could possibly be the explanation for that?" Scientists aren't sure, Dye says. But he and his colleagues suggest a few possibilities in their study. First off, Dye says, health officials could have vastly overestimated the number of Zika cases in Brazil.

Zika can be misdiagnosed as another mosquito-borne virus, called chikungunya. Both viruses cause a fever, a rash and joint pain. "So chikungunya can easily be mistaken for Zika," Dye says.

But chikungunya doesn't cause microcephaly. So perhaps Brazil actually didn't have that many Zika cases in 2016. And in turn, there weren't a lot of babies born with microcephaly.

The WHO official situation report was last updated in March 2017

There are 45 vaccine candidates, some of which have moved into human clinical trials. Studies in animal models have shown promising results of Zika virus vaccines for preventing maternal-fetal transmission and generating immunity in the vaccine recipient, but further validation is still required in clinical settings. Several vaccine candidates are currently in phase 1 and 2 of human clinical trials,

We hope this information has been helpful to you. Please know if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to write in the comment section below or send us an e-mail to:

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Zentrum der Gesundheit

World Health Organization

Secretaría de Salud Mexico

The New England Journal of Medicine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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