In the last few years, Mexico has seen an uptick in the number of disease cases that have been detected in the U.S. Since 2018, there have been 2,900 cases of measles, 16,700 cases of shingles, and 1,700 cases of dengue fever reported in the country. Many of these diseases are highly contagious and can be life-threatening. While it’s not yet clear what is behind this recent increase in disease, travel restrictions and border control might play a role.
More Travel To And From Mexico
The number of people traveling to Mexico from the United States increased 35% in the last two years, according to the U.S. State Department. In 2018, there were 2.3 million American travelers to Mexico, and it’s predicted that the number will surpass 3 million this year.
Most travel-related cases of measles, shingles, and dengue fever in Mexico occurred among visitors from the United States. In particular, there was a 400% increase in measles cases in the country between 2017 and 2018. Many of these cases were among unauthorized immigrants, who are less likely to be insured and therefore more likely to be sick and unable to work. This, in turn, has economic consequences for both countries.
Since 2014, there have been more than 70 cases of Ebola and 12,000 cases of Zika in Mexico. While the number of these infections are relatively low compared to other Latin American countries, the fact that they’re here at all is cause for concern. The first case of Ebola in Mexico was reported in 2014, and since then, there have been multiple imported cases and a few thousand indigenous cases. The ongoing challenge for governments and health organizations is how to contain the spread of these infectious diseases among the general population.
More Freedom Of Movement
There have also been more than 2,700 cases of yellow fever in Mexico since 2017. Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread through contact with an infected person’s blood. While the number of cases is relatively low compared to other Latin American countries, it has nonetheless been escalating in the country. This is likely due to the fact that there has been an increase in the number of mosquitoes in the country, as well as enhanced surveillance and environmental programs. In the last few months, there has been a 40% increase in the number of mosquitoes in the country compared to previous years. There are many cases of yellow fever in Mexico. While this is a concern, the situation isn’t yet beyond control. It’s still not clear what is causing the increase in mosquitoes in Mexico, but there are a few potential culprits including climate change and increased urbanization.
Vaccinations Aren’t Always Enough
While vaccinations might help prevent some of these diseases from taking hold in the general population, it’s not always the case. People can still get sick even after being vaccinated. In fact, there are reports of people becoming sick with the very diseases they were vaccinated against. The chances of getting sick from a vaccine-preventable disease are low, but it’s still something to consider. For example, there is a 5% chance of getting sick from measles after being vaccinated. However, the chances of getting sick from measles are less than 1%, and chances of getting sick from shingles are less than 0.5%.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Further Spread?
Since these diseases are highly contagious, there are a few things that can be done to prevent their spread. First, individuals and families can avoid traveling to countries where these diseases are present. Second, health professionals and organizations can continue enhancing surveillance and developing control programs in places where these diseases are already present. Finally, it’s important to note that since many of these diseases are preventable, it’s critical that individuals get proper vaccinations. As of now, there is no cure for any of these diseases. However, with proper treatment, the risk of getting sick might become relatively low.
This is certainly a cause for concern, but it’s important to note that these numbers only represent confirmed cases of disease. Many of these cases might not even get tested since the general public doesn’t often get sick from these infections. However, since these cases lead to more than 130,000 lost work days every year, it’s clear that something needs to be done.