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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

U.S. and Mexico Pledge Increased Cooperation in Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Along Border

The United States and México today announced the signing of an agreement to boost cooperation on pandemic influenza preparedness among the six Mexican states and four U.S. states that share the international boundary.

Meeting in Hermosillo, Sonora, México, HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness Craig Vanderwagen and the Mexican Director-General of Epidemiology of the Mexican Federal Secretariat of Health Pablo Kuri signed a joint declaration to strengthen the commitment of the two nations to coordinate preparedness efforts, domestic and international disease surveillance activities, and response planning in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza.

"An influenza pandemic knows no political or geographic boundaries and responding to a potential outbreak will demand the cooperation of all nations, especially those that share common borders like México and the United States," Assistant Secretary Vanderwagen said. "This agreement reflects the strong relationship between our nation and México and is a critical step in protecting our citizens."

The agreement was finalized during the 14th meeting of the US- México Border Health Commission, established in July 2000 to provide international leadership to enhance health and the quality of life among residents along both sides of the United States- México border. The commission's purpose is to raise awareness about public health issues in the region and the health and medical challenges faced by border populations; to help create the necessary venues and partnerships to mobilize the actions needed to improve the health status of those border-area residents; and to serve as a reliable information portal about border-health issues.

For more information, please visit www.borderhealth.org.

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Last revised: November 14, 2006