World headlines are being dominated by the spread of swine flu from Mexico and the United States to Canada, Europe and now the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. But what about Mexico’s neighbors to the south?
Today, Costa Rica claimed the inauspicious title of being the first Central American country to confirm a case of swine flu, and Guatemala (which shares a border with Mexico) has detected three possible infections. On high alert, Central American health ministers are meeting today in Managua with the goal of agreeing to shared measures to combat the spread of the disease. Already, Central American countries are taking precautionary measures. Panama and Costa Rica have taken steps to detect sick passengers at airports. Honduras has not only asked the international community to send doses of Tamiflu, but has also requested that Mexico stop deporting undocumented Hondurans. Nicaragua has prohibited the importation of pigs and pig products from Mexico. But given its close proximity to Mexico, Guatemala may face the greatest immediate challenge in the region.