HHS gives $5.4 million to Mexico

The Department of Health and Human Services released $5.4 million today to the Mexican government to enhance biological incident early warning systems with the four U.S. states that share the border with the country.

The money is to be used for a variety of areas, including disease detection and reporting and information technology, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced at the annual meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission in Saltillo, Mexico.

Six Mexican and four U.S. states make up the commission, which will distribute the money jointly with HHS and Mexico's Secretariat of Health. The states -- California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas -- received supplemental money earlier this year to enhance their systems through the bioterrorism preparedness cooperative agreements of the agency's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Early warning surveillance and prompt sharing of findings is a public health and national security imperative for both of our nations," Thompson said at the meeting.

The enhancements will be put in place over a three-year period, and will be used to address both potential bioterrorism and naturally occurring infectious diseases. Education and training are also priority areas for funding.

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