Bird flu? What's that? Swine flu is all the rage these days, and this time the latest flu epidemic has hit a country with production centers for several major automakers.
Mexico has been the epicenter of the swine flu outbreak, a strain of influenza that is related to bird flu. The reason this particular strain of flu has health officials scared is that there currently is no vaccine which can protect against it. It's estimated that 2000 people have been infected with swine flu in Mexico, and the country is taking steps to halt the spread of the disease.
In the meantime, Japanese auto-related companies are taking the threat of the flu seriously. Denso, one of the world's largest auto-parts makers, has recommended that families of expatriated staff in Mexico temporarily return to Japan. Honda, Japan's second largest automaker after Toyota, is considering sending Japanese families of expatriate workers back to Japan. Honda has gone so far as to suspend all global business travel until at least May 6th.
Some countries, like Cuba and Argentina, have banned travel to Mexico, while France will request all flights from the European Union to Mexico be suspended. The U.S. is asking citizens to "avoid all non-essential travel to Mexico."
Honda produces the best-selling CUV in the U.S., the CR-V, in a plant located in El Salto Jalisco, Mexico.