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  #1  
Old June 30th, 2004, 07:09 AM
childs57 childs57 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Default Health Warning for Mayan Ruins at Tulum

Last night I attempted to give blood at my fire dept., which we do on a regular basis. As I was filling out the donor questionairre, a firefighter and his wife (this is a family affair) were in the little interview booths of the bloodmobile ahead of me. She came out of the booth, knocked on the door of the other booth where her husband was, and told him they would not accept her blood because she had been to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. The husband and wife had just gotten back from their honeymoon on the Mayan Riviera. I myself had visited the ruins at Tulum in February, while docked at Calica on the Celebration. Therefore, all three of us were disqualified as blood donors.

Long story short, the UTMB bloodmobile would not accept blood from donors who had been to the ruins at Tulum within the last year. It seems there was a malaria outbreak there, and the mosquitos at the ruins are carriers of the virus. This ban applies only to people who have visited the ruins at Tulum, so if you visited Xel-Ha or anywhere else on the Mayan Riveria, you are supposedly safe (although I do not recall seeing a mosquito net around the ruins at Tulum).

I am passing this on as FYI to those who have visited or may be planning to visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum, as I do not recall Carnival or the Mexican tour guide issuing any warnings to passengers that visiting these ruins might be hazardous to your health. At best, you will be disqualified from donating blood for one year after your visit, and at worst, you may contract a case of malaria. Therefore, if you are planning on visiting Tulum, I would take some insect repellent with a high DEET content (Deep Woods Off) for the mosquitos, just to be on the safe side. Take care all !!
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  #2  
Old June 30th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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WOW, thanks for the heads-up.
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  #3  
Old June 30th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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We have traveled every year to Playacar which isn't far from Tulem and the ban on giving blood is actually the whole Playa Del Carmen area. I didn't know about this either until last year when someone I knew was giving blood and they asked her if she had been in the Playa Del Carmen or further down the coast. They told her if she had she couldn't give blood and I guess it is due to that area is at high risk for Malaria outbreak. But I have gone the last 8 years and have never contracted Malaria and one year the mosquitos were really really bad. I checked out some goverment web site that issues warnings about traveling out of the country and it's mentioned about that area being at high risk but it doesn't recommend you not to go. So don't worry you will be fine the only problem is if you have a family member who needs blood you won't be able to donate.
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  #4  
Old June 30th, 2004, 12:16 PM
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Excellent information to have; we will be on the Conquest in December and plan a trip to the ruins.

Thank you
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  #5  
Old June 30th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by childs57
Long story short, the UTMB bloodmobile would not accept blood from donors who had been to the ruins at Tulum within the last year.

At best, you will be disqualified from donating blood for one year after your visit, and at worst, you may contract a case of malaria. Therefore, if you are planning on visiting Tulum, I would take some insect repellent with a high DEET content (Deep Woods Off) for the mosquitos, just to be on the safe side. Take care all !!
I honestly don't think it has to do with the "ruins", rather everything to do with the "geographic region" where the ruins are located. Refusing blood donations from people that have been out of the U.S. for any length of time is nothing new - all they are trying to do is to keep the blood supply from becoming tainted.

Insect repellent is a good idea as is making sure that the "recommended" vacinations are current.
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  #6  
Old June 30th, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Yeah this message came out this time last year too, anyone who visits that whole area (Cozumel was NOT included last year), can't give blood. I think last year they said Costa Maya too, but not sure.
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  #7  
Old June 30th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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I was able to give blood again last April. It was a year in April since I have been back from the Playa de Carmen area. I was told, if I had just gone to Cancun, it would have been fine, and I could have given blood.
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  #8  
Old June 30th, 2004, 09:07 PM
TexEm TexEm is offline
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Here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area local blood banks refuse donors who have been anywhere from Playa del Carmen down (towards Belize), including Tulum. Visitors to Cozumel can donate. That's just their requirement.

However, what tourists need to know is that the malaria mosquito is a night-time feeding mosquito--meaning it feeds on people at night, and therefore transmits disease at night--so most visitors, especially off cruise ships--are not at risk because they're not there overnight (the mosquitoes are out most at dusk and dawn, and most cruise ship passengers are back on the ship well before dusk and well after dawn). That fact doesn't change the blood bank restrictions because they can't question everyone so thoroughly about what time of day they were there, etc. The restriction is usually a year but can be longer if you actually live in the area in question for a year or 2 or more, since that would increase your risk of getting malaria.

So--this is just a technicality for cruise ship passengers or visitors to Cancun who head down to Playa and beyond during the daytime hours. Have a good time, relax, don't worry about malaria--you just can't give blood for a year.

Those staying at the more rural resorts in Playa or beyond should be on antimalarials--according to the CDC. (chloroquine--a weekly drug you start the week before, take weekly while there, and for 4 weeks afterwards). I don't think the resorts recommend that, but think about that...not a good marketing tool.

People also don't talk much about the fact that visitors to Mexico should get a Hepatitis A vaccination and update their tetanus shot. But that's another story.
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  #9  
Old July 4th, 2004, 10:51 PM
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