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Programs and Activities

To address the health issues that affect the United States and Mexico, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works with key partners to conduct the following activities.

United States-Mexico Binational Technical Working Group (BTWG)

The goal of the BTWG is to improve public health in the United States and Mexico. The group provides an established forum for the U.S. CDC and the Mexican Undersecretary for Prevention and Promotion within the Secretary of Health to facilitate regular discussion on technical matters in public health. The BTWG also advances binational collaborations in areas of mutual interest, such as:

  • outbreak investigations;
  • improved technology for laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases;
  • laboratory and epidemiology trainings; and
  • infectious disease surveillance.

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Lab technicians

Lab technicians participate in a dengue diagnostic workshop held in Arizona, October 2012. Photo credit: Sonia Montiel, CDC

Binational Border Infectious Disease Surveillance Program (BIDS)

Since 1999 the Binational Border Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS) program has been conducting enhanced binational surveillance as a way to monitor the spread of disease in the border region. Another important objective of BIDS is to build epidemiologic and laboratory capacity. BIDS partners with other organizations, such as the United States–Mexico Border Health Commission, to offer trainings and networking opportunities to improve binational infectious disease surveillance.

BIDS activities include

  • Partnering with state and local health departments, the Mexican Health Secretariat, international organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization, hospitals and clinics, and institutions such as the United States Naval Health Research Center, to operate a surveillance network.
  • Gathering additional data on infectious diseases that are of interest to both the United States and Mexico and maintaining the first web-based surveillance system of its kind.
  • Organizing and conducting laboratory trainings on viral hepatitis, measles, rubella, dengue, West Nile virus, influenza and other respiratory disease, rickettsial disease, and rabies, along with diagnostics and molecular techniques for foodborne illness.
  • Detecting outbreaks and facilitating binational investigations and control efforts for measles, rubella, hepatitis A, dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, pandemic influenza A (H1N1 2009), food- and waterborne outbreaks such as those caused by salmonella and campylobacter, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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Binational Tuberculosis Program

The goal of binational tuberculosis activities is to continue care and management of tuberculosis (TB) patients who cross southern land borders. CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine and Division of Tuberculosis Elimination collaborate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Secretariat of Health of Mexico, U.S. and Mexico state health departments, and nongovernmental organizations on this effort.

Binational Tuberculosis Program activities include

  • Providing TB consultation at ports of entry and elsewhere to DHS and other federal, state, and local public health partners to enhance identification and reporting of migrants with TB.
  • Monitoring the arrival of newly admitted immigrants from Mexico with TB conditions and ensuring their referral to healthcare providers.
  • Working with multiple partners to ensure that migrants with TB continue to receive TB treatment and care.

Migrant Health Program

Bridge of the Americas

The Bridge of the Americas connects El Paso, TX to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo credit: Maureen Fonseca-Ford, CDC.

The goal of the Migrant Health Program is to review and develop strategies to better understand and improve the health of specific migrant populations, with a focus on Mexican and other Spanish-speaking migrants. CDC and partners work toward this goal by

  • Studying and improving the ways that CDC assesses the health status of migrant populations.
  • Providing outreach and health education to migrant populations.
  • Raising awareness about health disparities affecting migrant populations and effective interventions to address inequities.

Regulatory Responsibilities

Two quarantine stations on the United States-Mexico land border – the El Paso and San Diego stations—are responsible for carrying out regulatory responsibilities for the Southern land border, the airports, and the seaports.

Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), parts 70 and 71, CDC is authorized to detain, medically examine, and release persons arriving into the United States and traveling between states who are suspected of carrying communicable diseases.

For more information about how this authority is implemented, read the fact sheet about CDC's El Paso and San Diego Quarantine Stations and Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine.

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