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Mexican Department of Public Health to Launch Screening for Papillomavirus, Cause of Cervical Cancer
Date:11/19/2008

World's First National Cervical Cancer Screening Program to Use QIAGEN Test

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ --In a campaign to significantly reduce the most common cancer affecting Mexican women, the Mexican Public Health Agency (Secretaria de Salud) announced today that it is launching the first phase of a program that will offer free testing for human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer, to all low-income women age 35-65. In the first phase of the screening program, expected to begin this week, 200,000 women in the lowest-income 125 counties will be offered the papillomavirus test along with the traditional Pap smear. Early next year, the pilot program will be expanded to include another 600,000 women in the 20 states with the highest death rate from cervical cancer. It is hoped that if the program goes well, the remaining eight Mexican states will join the program later in 2009.

"Every year, more than 9,000 Mexican women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and nearly half of them die. Yet this is an entirely preventable disease," said Peer Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN (Nasdaq: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA), the company that developed the digene(R)HPV Test, which will be used in the SSA's program and is the only such test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "The Mexican government is taking a leadership role in Latin America, and the world, and QIAGEN is committed to joining with the SSA to assure that our advanced screening technology is accessible to women everywhere, no matter what their income level or social class."

Papillomavirus is a very common infection. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 11 percent of Mexican women carry cervical HPV at any given time. In the majority of women, the virus goes away or is suppressed
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