Acute Viral Hepatitis in the United States–Mexico Border Region: Data from the Border Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS) Project, 2000–2009
In 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mexican Secretariat of Health, and border health officials began the development of the Border Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS) project, a surveillance system for infectious diseases along the U.S.-Mexico border. During a 3-year period, a binational team implemented an active, sentinel surveillance system for hepatitis and febrile exanthems at 13 clinical sites. The network developed surveillance protocols, trained nine surveillance coordinators, established serologic testing at four Mexican border laboratories, and created agreements for data sharing and notification of selected diseases and outbreaks. BIDS facilitated investigations of dengue fever in Texas-Tamaulipas and measles in California-Baja California. BIDS demonstrates that a binational effort with local, state, and federal participation can create a regional surveillance system that crosses an international border. Reducing administrative, infrastructure, and political barriers to cross-border public health collaboration will enhance the effectiveness of disease prevention projects such as BIDS.