The Secretariat of Health (Salud) has confirmed 12 cases of measles and is investigating over 500 more possible instances of the disease.
The number of confirmed cases could increase as the tests are processed.
The cases have been brought to Mexico by travelers from abroad, but Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco said his department is not concerned about the disease.
The most recent case occurred in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, in early August when a health worker was infected by an Austrian tourist. It was the state’s fourth this year.
Cases have also been confirmed in Chihuahua, Nuevo León, San Luís Potosí and México state.
All of the confirmed cases have been described as “imported,” primarily by tourists who visit the country unvaccinated. Studies revealed the viruses came from Europe and Africa, although there are six cases in which the source of the virus is still unknown.
Prevention and health promotion undersecretary Dr. Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez said that Mexico is potentially at risk for larger outbreaks of measles as vaccination rates have declined in recent years.
In the previous presidential administration, they fell to a “historically low” 70%, he said. Vaccination rates need to be as high as 95% in order to guarantee the prevention of outbreaks.
Mexico eradicated measles in 1996. There was one native case of the disease in 2006, but the country has not seen numbers like this year’s for decades.
López-Gatell stated that there are currently red-flag areas outside Mexico that could be cause for worry, such as New York City, which declared a public health emergency earlier this year due to an outbreak.
The Health Secretariat issued recommendations for the prevention of measles in April for people traveling to Europe and the United States, in which it listed specific U.S. states that had confirmed cases of the disease.
The office declined requests for an interview.
Despite the cases in Mexico having been brought by foreign visitors, Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués told Mexico News Daily that his department is not concerned about the disease and there are currently no vaccination requirements for tourists entering Mexico from countries where measles is a problem.
Mexico News Daily