For Swine Flu Root Causes and Risks, Dig Into Environment1 min read
Amid all the news and speculation, it’s natural to wonder how Influenza A H1N1 got off to such a galloping start in Mexico. Reports are coming in about cultural resistance to seeking medical care, which no doubt is a contributing factor. But I was struck by a report filed by Jason Beaubien of NPR potentially linking the flu outbreak to the scarcity of clean water in many parts of Mexico. If maintaining basic hygiene is compromised by chronic water shortages, it seems the environment becomes ripe for infectious diseases to blossom.
Taking a global view of this issue makes it very clear why pandemics are expected to emanate from Africa and Asia –countries like China and India are among the most “water-stresssed” in the world. And Mexico appears to be on a par with them. Until a workable plan for redistributing water to needy populations is adopted, water-stressed destinations will be increasingly problematic for economic development and tourism. The Healthy Travel Blog will keep digging into underlying environmental issues that world travelers need to understand to keep their travels safe and healthy.