Mexico has been hit by a spate of snake bite deaths in recent weeks, prompting some tourism operators to warn of a potential risk to tourists.
Antigua and Barbuda tourism operator Molloy’s Group, which has been operating under a strict snake-bite-prevention policy, said it was aware of three deaths and a further seven confirmed cases in the past week.
The group’s spokeswoman, Angela McQuiggan, said she was aware that three tourists in Antigua were killed in the state’s capital city of Barinas in the first two weeks of September, and the third had died in the city of Aguas Calientes on the border with Cuba.
The first confirmed case of snakebite in the capital city occurred in late September, McQuaggan said.
In total, six people have been bitten since then, she said, with one case in the central state of Tamaulipas.
“We are concerned that there could be an increase in cases,” McQuaggan said.
“In the meantime, we are working to educate people about the dangers of snakes and to prevent their travel.”
Tourism and health ministry spokeswoman Jennifer Kuehne said Mexico had the highest rate of reported snakebite deaths in the world.
“If it happens in a city like Mexico City, it is probably a case of rabies, because it is in a public place,” she said.
“But we do not have any data about what type of snakes are involved.”
We have seen a lot of reports of people getting bites while on vacation in the states of Chiapas and Baja California.
“The tourism ministry has issued advice to travelers to avoid visiting Antiguan and Barbudan states.
The US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs says that Mexico has recorded more than 9,600 reported snakebites since January 2018.”
Mexico continues to experience an epidemic of snake bites, which have killed more than 5,000 people and injured more than 3,500,” it says on its website.”
While the virus has been linked to many types of bites, particularly to the cobras, the most commonly reported snake bites are from the cobra family.””
Bites are typically reported as a result of an aggressive bite, or a bite that appears to be from a cobra,” it adds.