Guidance

Mexico: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Mexico for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening, because Mexico has a low prevalence.

Ask about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Mexico.

There is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Mexico, so be alert and refer as appropriate.

Find out more about children’s health.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.

Tuberculosis

There is a low incidence of TB in Mexico (<40 cases/100,000), so:

  • routine screening for TB is not required
  • consider testing in patients (including children) who show signs and symptoms
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

Take a sexual history, and:

  • screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards and guidelines
  • test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia

Mexico has a low rate of HIV (≤1%), so:

  • offer and recommend an HIV test if the patient:
    • falls into a high risk group
    • is newly registering in a high prevalence area
  • be advised that national guidelines do not recommend routine consideration of HIV testing of infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK

Hepatitis B

Mexico has a low prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Mexico has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.

Travel plans and advice

Ask about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a low risk of malaria in Mexico, mainly due to P. vivax., so:

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Mexico, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Mexico are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Mexico

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Mexico, including soil transmitted helminthiasis.

Chagas

There is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Mexico, so:

  • be alert for possible cases
  • refer as appropriate

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Mexico
Number of children per woman¹ 2 2
Use of contraception² 82% 70.9%
Breast examination or mammography³ 75% 21%
Cervical cancer screening⁴ 70% 64%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner; ³women aged 50 to 69 years; ⁴women aged 20 to 69 years


Find out more about women’s health.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a low risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence is 5 to 20%) and a moderate risk in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), so:

  • be alert to this possibility in recently arrived migrants, particularly for women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Mexico.

Iodine

People from Mexico may be at risk of iodine induced hyperthyroidism due to excessive intake.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Mexico.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Mexico.

Languages

Language Population (%)
Spanish only 92.7
Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7
Indigenous only 0.8
Unspecified 0.8

Source: The World Factbook.


Find out about language interpretation.

Religions

Religion Population (%)
Roman Catholic 82.7
Pentecostal 1.6
Jehovah’s Witness 1.4
other Evangelical Churches 5
Other 1.9
None 4.7
Unspecified 2.7

Source: The World Factbook

Migration to the UK

There were over 9,000 people from Mexico living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 27 October 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated and made editorial changes to meet GOV.UK style.
  2. First published.