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Hurricane Harvey – October 11, 2017

DSHS continues to support recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey. In addition to coordinating public health and medical services during disasters in the state, the agency supports public heath activities throughout the recovery process.

  • Dial 2-1-1 for information on services available in your area.
  • Birth certificates:
  • Rules have been waived to allow mold remediators not licensed in Texas to operate in declared disaster areas, as long as they register with DSHS. The registration is not equivalent to a license, and companies that are not licensed still may not sign a Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation.
  • Vaccines:
    • People with puncture wounds or cuts exposed to flood water could be at risk of contracting tetanus if they haven’t had a tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years. People up-to-date on vaccinations do not need any additional vaccines
    • Students displaced by Harvey may be enrolled in school provisionally for 30 days without proof of immunization. Schools with electronic access to ImmTrac2, the state immunization registry, will be able to verify immunization status for many students.
  • Visit the Texas Health and Human Services Hurricane Harvey web page for information about Disaster SNAP benefits, SNAP/WIC benefits, Disaster Assistance Grants, and Medicaid/CHIP.

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Brucellosis – October 11, 2017

The Texas Department of State Health Services is permitting K-Bar Dairy in Wise County to resume selling raw milk at the dairy, as allowed under its raw-for-retail dairy permit. K-Bar recalled its milk and milk products after a public health investigation confirmed a customer of the dairy contracted brucellosis, a disease caused by Brucella bacteria. Public health laboratory testing found the same strain of Brucella in milk samples collected at the dairy and in the infected individual.

Testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab showed that two cows in the herd were shedding Brucella in their milk. Those two cows were separated from the herd, and subsequent testing of milk from the remaining cows has shown no evidence of Brucella bacteria in the milk or equipment, clearing the way for the resumption of sales. As part of an agreement with the dairy, DSHS will test its milk for Brucella periodically for up to one year.

Since raw milk is not pasteurized to kill bacteria, people who consumed milk or milk products purchased from K-Bar between June 1 and Aug. 14 are considered to be at high risk of Brucella infection and should contact their health care providers about whether they should get antibiotics to treat or prevent illness. Because Brucella can cause pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, it’s particularly important for affected pregnant women to seek medical attention.

Brucellosis is rarely reported and can be associated with a range of symptoms including fever, sweats, headache, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite and fatigue. Symptoms can persist for a long time and can come and go repeatedly. Less common symptoms include inflammation of the heart, swelling of the liver and spleen, neurologic symptoms, and in pregnant women, miscarriage. Disease investigators with DSHS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been attempting to contact people who purchased raw milk and milk products from K-Bar Dairy. However, because not all customers left contact information, health officials believe there are still people unaware they were likely exposed to harmful bacteria.

In Texas, raw milk is only permitted to be sold on site at a dairy with a valid raw-for-retail permit, therefore, unpasteurized milk is not sold at retail stores. To protect against illness, DSHS recommends drinking only milk that has been pasteurized to kill germs. The risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk is greater for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and others who have a weakened immune system.

Additional information:

News release: Unpasteurized milk recall from Wise County dairy
Health alert: Brucellosis Contracted from Consumption of Raw Milk

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For the latest Zika news, see our News Releases page and/or TexasZika.org.

Zika Virus – October 17, 2017

DSHS and Hidalgo County have determined that a mosquito bite in Texas was the probable source of a Hidalgo County resident’s previous Zika infection, making it the first local mosquito infection we know of in 2017. Read more in the DSHS news release Health Officials Find Probable Local Zika Infection.

DSHS provides updates every Tuesday on the number of Zika virus disease cases in Texas by the patient’s county of residence. As of the week ending October 13, 36 Zika cases have been reported for 2017, with 323 cases reported for 2015 and 2016. Full data for previous years is available at TexasZika.org.

Bexar - 4
Brazoria - 1
Brazos - 1
Cameron† - 11            
Collin - 2 
Dallas - 2      
Denton - 1 
Harris - 7                   
Kerr - 1
Lubbock - 1
Smith - 2
Travis - 1
Upshur - 1
Webb - 1

All cases are travel associated except where otherwise noted.
† Includes one case transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas (Cameron).

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause fever, rash, muscle and joint aches and red eyes (conjunctivitis). Symptoms are usually mild, and most people exposed to Zika virus won’t develop any symptoms at all. Zika has also been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with the virus while pregnant.

The Texas Department of State Health Services continues to prepare for the possible transmission of Zika virus in Texas by emphasizing how people can protect themselves, increasing the state’s capacity to test for the virus, and working with local governments to assess mosquito control capabilities and activities.

Because the virus spreads from place to place through human travel, DSHS encourages people to follow travel precautions for countries and regions where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. That generally includes Latin America, the Caribbean and some Pacific islands. DSHS recommends travelers avoid mosquito bites while abroad and for 21 days after returning, in case they have been exposed to the virus.

People everywhere can protect themselves from mosquito bites and the threat of Zika by taking a few simple steps:

  • Apply EPA-registered insect repellents.
  • Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover exposed skin.
  • Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home. 
  • Remove standing water in and around your home.
  • Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect.

Additional information at TexasZika.org

Texas Zika Campaign Materials

DSHS News Releases

Zika Virus at CDC

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West Nile – October 17, 2017

Texas is again experiencing illnesses caused by West Nile virus, a virus spread by mosquitoes. So far this year, there have been 107 confirmed human cases, including three deaths. In 2016, Texas reported 370 human cases of West Nile illness, including 18 deaths. Most people who get infected don’t get sick, but about 20 percent will experience symptoms of West Nile fever: headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. In one percent of infections or less, the virus can affect the nervous system, causing a case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease that can include neurological symptoms like disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma and even death. The precautions used to prevent mosquito bites to stop Zika will also help prevent West Nile infections.

2017 West Nile Cases
County West Nile Fever West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease Total
Bexar 1 2
Bowie 1 1
Collin 3 6 9
Cooke 1 1
Dallas 11 12 23
Denton 6 4 10
El Paso 3 10 13
Ellis 1 1
Harris 1 10 11
Hockley 1 1
Hutchinson 1 1
Johnson 1 1
Limestone 1 1
Lubbock 2 2
Montgomery 2 2
Nueces 1 1
Panola 1 1
Rockwall 1 1
San Patricio 1 1
Swisher 1 1
Tarrant 8 11 19
Val Verde 1 1
Van Zandt 1 1 2
Webb   1 1
Total 41 66 107

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Last updated October 17, 2017