Diseases in MexicoSome of the top diseases in Mexico that people contract are Hepatitis A and the dengue virus. Below, each of the diseases will be summarized, including how they are transmitted, their symptoms, prevalence of the diseases in Mexico and how to combat the diseases.

Hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated food or water or spread through person-to-person contact wherein an infected person’s stool is ingested by a non-infected person through poor hygiene practices.

Poor hygiene and sanitation practices are the results of letting half the country’s population live in abject poverty; without clean drinking water or sewage services, Hepatitis A spreads easily and became endemic to the population of Mexico.

If a disease is endemic, that means it is regularly found among a population; for Mexico, Hepatitis A is found throughout the entire country.

Mosquitos transmit the dengue virus. Its symptoms at the beginning of incubation of the virus, includes a sudden, high fever, joint pain, and headaches.

Dengue is endemic to all of Mexico as well, except for the state of Baja California Norte and other areas of higher elevation, as mosquitoes carrying the virus cannot survive at the higher elevations.

Dengue may progress into dengue shock syndrome, a rare complication including a hemorrhagic fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and even failure of the circulatory system, which can cause death.

Taking aspirin accelerates the onset of symptoms of dengue shock syndrome, as aspirin thins the blood, so it is important to quickly ascertain that dengue is causing a patient’s symptoms before administering medication.

Protection against contracting the dengue virus is easy: use bug spray, wear layers outdoors, and make sure bug screens in the home have no holes or tears for mosquitoes to fly through, but these are monumental tasks for the poor of Mexico, who struggle to provide food for their families, let alone mosquito repellant.

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes like dengue are more likely to disproportionately affect those in lower economic classes. The Baker Institute mentions that these diseases, also known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), are widespread in Mexico’s poorest southern states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Mayan villages on the outskirts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Bayley McComb

Photo: Flickr