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Doctors eyeing TB efforts in Mexico

Feb. 16, 2009 at 1:07 PM   |   Comments

REYNOSA, Mexico, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Tuberculosis services in Mexico need to improve to help ailing individuals and prevent immigrants from spreading the disease to U.S. cities, doctors say.

Dr. Magin Pereda, who operates a TB program in Mexico, said immediate treatment was desperately needed in Mexico for those diagnosed with tuberculosis, the Chicago Tribune said Monday.

"It is a devastating experience to watch people suffering from this disease every day, especially when there are measures to ease their suffering," said Pereda, who battles the disease in Reynosa, Mexico.

Equally troubling is how infected Mexican nationals can unknowingly transport the disease to U.S. cities where the infectious disease can spread.

While Mexican immigrants make up 6 percent of the total Illinois population, the immigrant group represents 18 percent of all reported TB cases, the Tribune said.

Dr. Brian Smith, Texas Department of State Health Services regional director, said Texas officials have already authorized sending TB medication to Mexico.

"Whatever your opinion is on undocumented immigration, we have to focus ourselves on public health," Smith told the Tribune. "And if we don't treat TB the right way, society pays."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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