Vail Valley locals not canceling all Mexico trips |

Vail Valley locals not canceling all Mexico trips

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Arturo Bermudez, 81, of Denver shows the surgical mask he wore on a commercial flight from Mexico City to Denver after arriving at Denver International Airport on Monday, April 27, 2009. Bermudez wore the mask as did other passengers as a precaution from catching the swine flu. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

VAIL, Colorado “-Some Vail Valley locals are canceling or postponing their trips to popular off-season destination Mexico as news of a swine flu outbreak spreads.

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control are paying close attention to what the World Health Organization warns is a potential swine flu pandemic ” the organization raised the pandemic alert phase from level three to level four Monday, meaning there’s “sustained human-to-human transmission.” Phases five and six indicate widespread human infection.

The Eagle County Board of Health called an emergency meeting Monday to talk about local response.

There are no reported cases of the swine flu in Colorado, and Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer Ned Calonge called the swine flu a “relatively mild disease” at a news conference with Gov. Bill Ritter Sunday. Calonge said the swine flu is acting just like a seasonal fly in the United States in terms of symptoms and recovery.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a travel warning to Americans Monday, advising to “avoid nonessential travel to Mexico.”

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The news hasn’t stopped some local from heading south, said Patti Kundolf, travel agent with Overland Express Travel Inc., in Edwards. She said about half of her customers heading to Mexico are canceling or postponing, but many are still going.

She said one of her customers plans to go to Mexico next week and isn’t concerned about getting sick.

Jody Talbot, owner of Talbot Travel in Eagle-Vail, said she’s had a lot of people who are delaying their trips to Mexico and two have canceled their trips completely.

“We definitely are having people giving it a little thought,” she said.

The Eagle County Public Health Department advises locals with mild flu symptoms ” nausea, fever, cough, body aches, chills, sore throat, among others ” to stay home, regardless of travel history. Children and teenagers with fevers should stay home from school and adults with fevers should stay home from work, according to an Eagle County Public Health Department statement issued Monday afternoon.

Matthew Earle, a spokesman for the Eagle County School District, said local health officials are going to update the school district about any swine flu news around noon every day.

“They’re keeping an eye on it; they want us to be prepared,” he said.

School nurses are telling students to wash their hands often and are looking out for children with flu systems within the schools, but overall the schools are not too worried, he said.

The county is treating the swine flu the same as any flu, said the county’s public health educator Sondra Manske. She said people should wash their hands for 20 seconds at a time, cough or sneeze into sleeves instead of hands and stay home if they’re sick.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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