Mexico is a country that is continuing to improve both public health and medical system infrastructures. Within the past decade there has been a consistent downward trend of the communicable disease burden on the Mexican population. Documented decreases in cases have occurred with dengue, malaria (Plasmodium vivax prevalent) and tuberculosis. Mexico has also experienced a decline in vaccine-preventable diseases in the past decade including measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, and tetanus attributed to above 96 percent vaccination rates. Mexico continues to observe a high rate of mortality in children under five years due to influenza and pneumonia infections; likewise, children in this age group are more vulnerable to gastrointestinal infectious diseases active in the country including paratyphoid, shigellosis and cholera, though limited cases are documented annually. Meningococcal meningitis and rabies are also active diseases in Mexico. In implementing infectious disease detection and response mechanisms, the global positioning of Mexico must be taken into account, as the country is located in both tropical and temperate latitudes, which allow for the transmission of diverse disease entities.
In the past year, the disease entity with the greatest socio-economic impact has been pandemic (H1N1) influenza. The typical onset of seasonal influenza transmission in the temperate region of Mexico occurs between the months of November and March. In the tropical region of Mexico, influenza seasons are less defined, though a northward transmission pattern passing through Mexico is typically observed at the conclusion of influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere. Currently, the conditions for influenza transmission are not optimized in Mexico; therefore, the risk level for influenza is minimal.
Under normal conditions, a high percentage of both rural and urban populations have access to safe water supplies in Mexico. Access to sanitation facilities for individuals in urban areas is also high, but significantly lower for those living in rural communities. In some areas affected by the April 4, 2010 earthquake both sanitation and clean water infrastructures have been compromised. This places these communities at risk for diarrheal disease.
The earthquake epicenter was located less than 30 kilometers from the town of Guadalupe Victoria located in the municipality of Mexicali of northern Mexico. Evaluation for damage continues in earthquake impact areas. Damage to water and electrical infrastructure has been documented and a water shortage is reported to be affecting approximately 35,000 residents of rural areas. Natural Disaster Declaration is in effect for Mexicali and Tecate. At present, there is no international assistance being requested by Mexican authorities.
As the impact of the April 4th earthquake in Mexico is evaluated and reported, we will expand our risk assessment for all localities of relevance.