The close geographic and socioeconomic relationship between the US and Mexico has profound public health implications for the health systems of the two countries.
These two countries share a 2,000 mile border which has over 400 million legal northbound crossings a year through ports of entry located in at least 7 major sister-city regions. Mexico is the second largest trading partner of the US (after Canada and before China). Numerous bi-national infectious disease outbreaks including vaccine-preventable, foodborne, vector-borne, and mycobacteriosis and mycotic diseases have been documented over the last two decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced intentions to establish a new cooperative agreement with the George E. Brown Foundation U.S. Mexico for the Sciences (FUMEC) to support capacity building and cooperation in addressing emerging infectious diseases of importance to both countries.
Supporting improvements in biosurveillance, epidemiology and food safety will allow CDC to further its global public health programs in a coordinated manner, not only with public health governmental institutions of Mexico but also with academic partners. This cooperative arrangement aims to conduct complementary activities to reach CDC specific goals and objectives related to US Mexico bi-national health, through the prevention and control of infectious diseases that are public health threats, and the strengthening of key public health services.
Priority areas for the new cooperative agreement include:
- Enhancement of the surveillance for infectious diseases of binational concern
- Continuation of the Binational Communication Platform
- Enhancement of the laboratory data reporting capacity
- Enhancement of a binational outbreak response capacity
- Evaluation of programs and systems in place
- Implementation of lessons learned
The Mexico Secretariat of Health has collaborated with CDC since 1997 in the development and implementation of binational infectious disease surveillance (BIDS). BIDS helps the two countries monitor infectious disease reports for a variety of infectious disease syndromes and conditions in a uniform manner, using similar clinical screening criteria and similar laboratory testing protocols when agreed upon by both countries.
The agreement is overseen by the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease (NCEZID).