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Global Health Programs: U.S.-Mexico Border Infectious Disease Activities


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) U.S.-Mexico border infectious disease activities aim to enhance U.S.-Mexico collaboration to prevent the spread of infectious diseases across the world’s busiest international frontier with 250 to 400 million northbound legal border crossings occurring each year. Disease respects no borders.

Program Description

CDC’s U.S.-Mexico Unit (USMU) was established to enhance collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico on binational public health issues and events of mutual concern including binational outbreaks that occur each year and high-risks of infectious disease in these migrating/mobile populations. The USMU serves as CDC’s official liaison with the Mexico Secretariat of Health for infectious disease issues, and implements activities that focus on the U.S.-Mexico border. These activities include:

  • Providing technical assistance and subject matter expertise to U.S.-Mexico federal and state agencies on binational infectious disease issues including outbreak investigations.
  • Detecting, notifying, investigating and responding to illness reports and communicable disease cases with partner health officials and border protection agencies in the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Reviewing medical records of Mexican migrants who will reside permanently in the U.S. and notifying state and local health departments of any migrants with specific medical conditions that need prompt evaluation or treatment.
  • Assisting cross-border tuberculosis (TB) patients with continuity of treatment.
  • Coordinating and supporting binational surveillance and disease control projects, such as Border Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS) system and binational TB projects.

Where We Work

  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Border States
  • Southern Land Border Ports of Entry

Public Health Impact

Increasing laboratory capacity and surveillance activities along the border and in Mexico and enhancing information sharing have led to improved disease control including:

  • Early warning of H1N1 influenza, dengue, measles, hepatitis A, rubella, and foodborne outbreaks including the first detection of locally acquired dengue hemorrhagic fever in the U.S. and the second viral detection of novel H1N1 influenza A in California triggering the start of pandemic H1N1 investigation.
  • Setting up clear communication and collaboration systems between the U.S. and Mexico for epidemiologic events through the development of the U.S.-Mexico Guidelines for Cooperation on Epidemiologic Events of Mutual Interest.
  • Efficient and timely sharing of information binationally through production and dissemination of the binational borderwide influenza surveillance report and web-based BIDS data system.
  • Public health promotion directed toward prevention of Influenza, West Nile Virus and raw cheese associated infections among Latinos.

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  • Page last reviewed: April 18, 2011
  • Page last updated: April 18, 2011
  • Content source: Global Health
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