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Mexico Declares Public Health Emergency over Rapid Increase in Obesity and Diabetes

Mexico has declared a public health emergency over the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes

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obese children
India with 14.4 million had the second highest number of obese children in 2015. Pixabay

Mexico City, Nov 15, 2016: Mexico has declared a public health emergency over the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes.

According to health officials, the decision was made after the National Institute of Statistics and Geography confirmed that between 2014 and 2015 the number of people who died of diabetes rose by more than 4,000, Xinhua news agency reported.

In that period, diabetes-related deaths increased from 94,000 to 98,450, the Health Ministry announced.

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At a press conference on Monday, Deputy Minister of Health Pablo Kuri said the statistics led officials to take the unprecedented measure.

“It is the first time we have declared a health emergency over a disease that is not contagious, and we declared two, one for obesity and excess weight, and another for diabetes,” said Kuri.

In 1980, 14,626 people in Mexico died of diabetes, showing the ailment spiked in the past 35 years, with more than 7 million Mexicans, or about 9 percent of the population, now suffering from the affliction.

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Health Minister Jose Narro blamed a change in the Mexican diet and lack of exercise for the country’s obesity and diabetes epidemics.

“In 35 years, genetics did not change. What changed was the lifestyle of Mexicans,” Narro said

The health emergency calls for local, state and federal governments to work together to design and launch more effective prevention measures and awareness campaigns, among other steps. (IANS)

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Florida Becomes Latest Place to Declare Public Health Emergency Over Hepatitis A

Florida had 65 new cases in the past two weeks alone, bringing the total to 2,034, state officials said

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hepatitis A
FILE - Mexican Health Ministry representatives give migrants free shots for the flu, hepatitis B, tetanus, and preventible children's diseases at the Barretal shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 6, 2018. VOA

Officials have declared a public health emergency over the rising number of hepatitis A cases in Florida, the latest part of the country dealing with outbreaks of the liver disease. Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared an emergency Thursday to allow the state to spend more on testing and treatment, saying Florida has had more than 2,000 cases since the beginning of the year compared with 548 all of last year. Most have been in central Florida, and health officials are still investigating the sources.

“We urge vaccination and stress the importance of washing your hands regularly,” Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez said in a tweet. Philadelphia also declared an emergency Thursday, and Mississippi officials announced an outbreak in their state earlier in the week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Kentucky has had 4,793 cases since an outbreak there in 2017; since 2018, Ohio has had 3,220 and West Virginia 2,528.

Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver and is spread through food, water and objects tainted by feces, or through close contact. Its flulike symptoms, if they occur, usually last about two months. It had been considered a disease that was fading away, thanks in part to vaccines available since 1995. As recently as 2015, fewer than 1,400 cases were reported nationwide.

florida, hepatitis A
Florida had 65 new cases in the past two weeks alone, bringing the total to 2,034, state officials said. Pixabay

But three years ago, a wave of outbreaks among homeless people and illicit drug users began appearing in the U.S. More than two dozen states have reported such outbreaks since then, with more than 22,500 cases, including 221 deaths. Vaccines have typically been administered to children, but many of the new cases have been in adults.

ALSO READ: US Drug Overdose Deaths More Common in Cities than Rural Areas

Florida had 65 new cases in the past two weeks alone, bringing the total to 2,034, state officials said. That compares with 548 last year and 276 cases in 2017. Dr. Eugene Schiff, director for liver diseases at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and former epidemic intelligence service officer for CDC, told The Associated Press that the disease is likely spreading in Florida among homeless and unvaccinated people. He said intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men and the homeless are at a higher risk for the illness.

“Homelessness is a big issue throughout the country and in Florida, and they are at higher risk to spread hepatitis A around,” Dr. Schiff said. “It is more epidemic in the homeless community.” But he noted that the vaccine protects people against the disease: “This is entirely preventable. It is not that this is a virulent strain, there is just a larger risk if people haven’t been vaccinated.” (VOA)