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Bayport Channel Collision – May 11, 2019

Due to Friday’s shipping collision and chemical release in northwestern Galveston Bay, DSHS is advising people not to fish or eat any seafood from the portions of Galveston and Trinity bays north of a line from the end of the Texas City Dike to Smith Point.

While the spill is not affecting the entire area at this time, changing tidal and weather conditions mean different parts of that area could be affected in the future. DSHS reminds everyone to avoid any fish or shellfish that has an oily or chemical look or smell.

The agency is taking the additional step of temporarily closing private oyster harvesting areas in Galveston Bay. Because oyster season is closed, harvesting is not open to the public at this time.

The chemical involved, a gasoline additive called reformate, evaporates quickly and is not expected to accumulate in fish tissue once it’s gone from the water, so any impact on seafood should be resolved in the coming days or weeks.

Exposure to the chemical vapor does not pose a long-term health concern, but it can cause short-term effects like headache, nausea, and eye irritation in people who come into contact with it. Anyone experiencing health effects should contact their health care provider. People with questions may contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

DSHS will continue to monitor the situation and update guidance as the situation changes.

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Measles – April 5, 2019

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed 15 measles cases in Texas this year. DSHS is urging health care providers to consider measles when diagnosing patients because early identification, along with immunization, is key to preventing measles from spreading.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles is so contagious that if someone has it, 90 percent of the people around that person who are not immune will become infected. DSHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend children get a dose of measles vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years. The measles vaccine is very effective, about 97 percent after two doses. Children too young to be vaccinated or who have only had one dose of vaccine are more likely to get infected.

A hallmark of measles is a rash that begins as flat, red spots on the face and spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Anyone who believes they have measles should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.

Texas had nine confirmed cases in 2018 and one in 2017. Additional measles numbers are available on our measles data page.

Measles News Release
Measles Health Alert

Measles Cases by County, Texas 2019

2019 Measles Cases
County Cases
Bell 1
Bexar 1
Collin 2
Dallas 1
Denton 1
Harris 4
Galveston 1
Guadalupe 1
Jefferson 1
Montgomery 1
Tarrant 1
Total 15 
Figure 1: 2019 Measles Cases

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Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) – Feb. 14, 2019

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a very rare condition that affects a person’s spinal cord marked by the sudden onset of weakness in the arms or legs. Less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM each year. There is no specific treatment for AFM, and in most cases the cause is unknown. Because the cause of most of the AFM cases is unknown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting an investigation to determine possible causes and risk factors for the condition. Possible causes include infections, environmental toxins and genetic disorders. AFM is not required to be reported, but DSHS is asking all healthcare providers to report suspected cases of AFM to their local health departments.

AFM can be difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with several other neurologic conditions. All suspected cases of AFM are reviewed by the CDC to determine if they meet the case definition. It can take about a month for the status of a case to be determined.

CDC data shows a pattern of increased AFM cases in late summer to early fall of every other year beginning in August 2014. Most of the cases occur in children.

AFM Case Counts by County, Texas 2018*†

Acute Flaccid Myelitis Case Counts by County, Texas 2018*†
County Case Count
Cass 1
Collin 3
Dallas 3
Fort Bend 1
Galveston 1
Gregg 1
Harris 7
Hays 1
Hidalgo 1
Hill 1
Kaufman 1
Midland 1
Parker 1
Smith 1
Tarrant 5
Travis 3
Webb 1
Total 33 
Figure 2: Acute Flaccid Myelitis Case Counts by County, Texas 2018*†

AFM Case Counts by Year, Texas 2014 - 2019*†

Figure 3: Acute Flaccid Myelitis Case Counts by Year, Texas 2014 - 2019*†
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017** 2018† 2019*
Case Counts 3 0 19 6 33 0
* Data provisional as of 2/12/2019
† Confirmed and probable cases
** 2017 case reported in 2018 classified as confirmed case on 12/5/2018

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Last updated May 11, 2019