From the Record Update
U-M will again allow university-sponsored travel to Mexico

The university on Tuesday ended its suspension of university-sponsored travel to Mexico that was put in place April 28 during the height of the outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) in Mexico.

President Mary Sue Coleman rescinded the travel suspension after consulting with the university’s executive officers and Dr. Robert Winfield, chief health officer.

The action comes days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downgraded its warning against nonessential travel to Mexico because risk of severe disease from the novel H1N1 virus now appears to be less than originally thought.

“While H1N1 appears to still be spreading worldwide, the illness caused by the virus is much milder than initially thought and there have been relatively few deaths,” Winfield says. “Because of this new understanding of the virus and the change in the CDC’s advisory, we determined that the suspension of sponsored-travel to Mexico was no longer warranted.”

Winfield emphasized, however, that university physicians and public health experts would continue to closely monitor development of the H1N1 virus. He says university officials would stay in touch with the CDC as well as state and local public health agencies for guidance on any further action that may become necessary.

The CDC removed its advisory against nonessential travel to Mexico on May 15 and replaced it with a health precaution encouraging travelers at high risk for complications from any form of influenza to discuss travel plans to Mexico with a health care provider.

Those at high risks, according to the CDC, would be pregnant women; children less than 5 years old; persons age 65 or older; children receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection; people with chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders; person who have immunosuppression; residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.