News Updates

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Influenza – December 13, 2019

The 2019–2020 flu season has begun, and DSHS encourages everyone to get vaccinated now. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by one of a number of related viruses. The flu vaccine is made up of strains similar to ones likely to be circulating in North America, and early vaccination provides the best protection against contracting the flu. Vaccination is especially important for people with chronic health conditions and weaker immune systems and their caregivers. Additional information about influenza and ways to stop the spread of the flu virus can be found at www.texasflu.org.

DSHS monitors influenza activity across the state all year. The most recent flu surveillance report shows widespread flu activity in Texas and high levels of influenza-like illness. There have been 6 pediatric flu-related deaths reported this season.

Additional information:
DSHS news release
Flu surveillance background

Pediatric Flu Deaths

Pediatric Flu Deaths
Public Health Region Number of Pediatric Flu Deaths
2/3 (North Texas) 2
7 (Central Texas) 1
8 (South Texas) 1
11 (Rio Grande Valley) 2
Total 6
 Map of Public Health Regions

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Lung Injury Associated with Vaping – Dec. 10, 2019

DSHS has identified 216 Texas cases of severe lung disease in people who report vaping before developing symptoms, including one death. Patients range in age from 13 to 75 years old, with a median age of 22 years. About one-quarter of the people affected in Texas are minors. Three-quarters are male, and nine in ten report vaping THC or marijuana, possibly in conjunction with other substances. Almost all were hospitalized with many requiring intensive care.

Respiratory symptoms include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and coughing. Some people have also experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Clinicians should ask patients with these symptoms about a history of vaping, gather as much information as possible about suspected cases, and report them to DSHS.

Nationally, 2,291 cases have been reported in 50 states, and DSHS is working with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and other states to gather evidence about what the cases have in common and determine a cause.

Until we know more about the cause, people should consider not using e-cigarettes. If you do vape and experience symptoms like those reported, seek medical care promptly.

Regardless of the ongoing situation:

  • Youth and young adults should not vape.
  • Women who are pregnant should not vape.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start vaping.

Case counts will be updated each Tuesday.

News Release
Updated Health Alert
Latest Information from CDC

Lung Injury Associated
with Vaping, Texas

Cases of Lung Injury Associated with Vaping, Texas
Public Health Region Number of Cases
1 (Panhandle) 3
2/3 (North Texas) 113
4/5N (East Texas) 5
6/5S (Southeast Texas) 42
7 (Central Texas) 25
8 (South Texas) 12
9/10 (West Texas) 3
11 (Rio Grande Valley) 13
Not yet determined 0
Total 216
Figure 1: Cases of Lung Injury Associated with Vaping, Texas, as of 12/3/19

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West Nile Virus – Dec. 10, 2019

DSHS has confirmed 30 cases of West Nile illness in Texas this year, including two deaths.

People can be infected by West Nile virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. DSHS encourages everyone to protect themselves from bites by wearing long sleeves and pants, applying insect repellent and removing standing water.

Last year, Texas reported 146 cases of West Nile illness that resulted in 11 deaths.

Case counts will be updated each Tuesday through mosquito season.

News Release
Additional Surveillance Information

West Nile Virus Cases, 2019

West Nile virus cases, 2019
County West Nile
Fever
West Nile
Neuroinvasive
Disease
Total
Brazoria 1 1
Dallas 1 1
El Paso 3 13 16
Floyd 1 1
Hale 1 1
Harris 2 2
Lamb 1 1
Lubbock 1 1
Lynn 1 1
Midland 1 1
Nolan 1 1
Potter 1 1
Tarrant 1 1
Tom Green   1 1
Total 7 23 30
Figure 2: West Nile Virus Cases, 2019

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Last updated December 13, 2019