The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Earthquakes and Hurricane in Mexico

Updated October 3, 2017

Three recent natural disasters have caused severe damage, injuries, and deaths in Mexico. On September 7, 2017, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Tabasco, causing nearly 100 deaths. The next day, September 8, 2017, Category 1 Hurricane Katia made landfall on the eastern coast in Veracruz, causing a mudslide that resulted in several deaths. On September 19, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the state of Puebla, about 75 miles from Mexico City.

In addition to safety hazards caused by debris and unstable buildings, there may be problems with sanitation, food supply, electricity, transportation, shelter, communications, security, and medical care. US residents should postpone travel to severely affected areas. There are serious health and safety risks, medical care may not be available, and visitors could further strain limited local resources. Those who must travel, including those who are traveling for humanitarian aid work, should adhere to the recommendations below.

Prevent illness and injury

Use caution around downed power lines, water-affected electrical outlets, and interrupted gas lines.
Avoid stray or frightened animals. Seek medical help immediately if you are bitten or scratched by an animal, and wash out the wound.
Avoid direct contact with dead bodies (human remains), body fluids, and human waste. (If you are a relief worker helping with human remains, see the Interim Health Recommendations for Workers Who Handle Human Remains After a Disaster.)
Avoid bug bites

Illnesses that are spread by mosquitoes, including Zika and chikungunya, are in Mexico. Travelers should take steps to prevent bug bites.

Follow food and water safety guidelines

Avoid consuming contaminated water and food that can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other, more serious, illnesses (see “Food and Water Safety”).

Traveler Information

Hurricanes and Other Tropical Storms
Health Information for Travelers to Mexico
Clinician Information

Advising Humanitarian Aid Workers in CDC Health Information for International Travel -“Yellow Book”
Safety Information for Health Care Professionals
Page created: September 13, 2017
Page last updated: September 20, 2017
Page last reviewed: September 20, 2017
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)