US federal health officials with the Atlanta-based, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a special travel alert for travelers to Mexico next week to see Pope Francis next week.

Pope Francis donkeyhotey
Pope Francis donkeyhotey

The Pope is scheduled to visit several areas of Mexico beginning next Friday, Feb. 12 and staying through Feb. 18. A number of stops are scheduled to include Mexico City, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Morelia, and Ciudad Juarez, where large crowds are expected.

The CDC is reiterating special recommendations for pregnant women traveling to Mexico. CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:

  • Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
    • Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
    • If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
    • If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area where Zika transmission is ongoing, either abstain from sex or use condoms consistently and correctly for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Women who are trying to become pregnant:
    • Before you or your male partner travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
    • You and your male partner should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

In addition to Zika precaution, health officials also recommend all travelers be up-to-date on routine vaccines, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and flu.

Other recommended vaccines may include hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, and rabies. Medicine for travelers’ diarrhea may be recommended.