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Community Mitigation Lessons From Mexico's A(H1N1) Response
Date:9/15/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the hitherto undetected A(H1N1) influenza attacked Mexico explosively in late April 2009, the world watched with critical attention as that country's leaders scrambled to manage the emerging public health crisis.

President Felipe Calderon invoked emergency health powers on April 24, setting into motion a broad range of community mitigation strategies, or non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) including school closures, public gathering bans, isolation, quarantine and social distancing. Today, Mexico remains under scrutiny as the global community examines myriad data to identify the most successful and reproducible NPI tactics should another epidemic emerge in the coming months and years.

"Understanding how Mexico managed its preparedness strategies speaks volumes to those interested in assessing the implementation and response to NPIs during a major infectious outbreak," says Alexandra Minna Stern, Ph.D., the Zina Pitcher Collegiate Professor in the History of Medicine, associate director of the U-M Center for the History of Medicine and director of its Program in Contemporary History and Health Policy.

In a commentary published in the Sept. 16, 2009 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Stern and co-author Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U-M Center for the History of Medicine, provide a historical snapshot of Mexico's emergency A(H1N1) public health strategies that is based on dozens of interviews they and their researchers conducted in Mexico in July 2009 with citizens and public officials.

The commentary is framed by their conversation with Dr. Ignacio Villasenor Ruiz of Mexico City's health department, who said officials "had to recognize that influenza transmission could not be stopped, but we could do two things: first, slow the transmission rate
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SOURCE U-M Center for the History of Medicine
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