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Hurricane Harvey – September 21, 2017

DSHS is responding to flooding and other effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. DSHS coordinates public health and medical services during disasters in the state, including the evacuation of health care facilities, providing shelters for people with special medical needs, and supporting the behavioral health of responders.

Mosquito control:

DSHS is working with counties that have requested assistance with mosquito control to coordinate spraying by two state contractors and federal support through FEMA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Flight operations treated about 326,000 acres over Calhoun, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk and San Jacinto counties last night. Crews are planning to be up tonight spraying over portions of Galveston, Jackson, Montgomery, Polk and San Jacinto counties, conditions permitting. As those areas are completed, planes will move on to Sabine and Jasper counties and expect to conclude spraying this week.

A total of approximately 6.03 million acres has been sprayed across all areas. Flight schedules are subject to change.

The goal is to reduce the effects mosquitoes are having on recovery efforts and the possibility of a future increase in mosquito-borne disease. During aerial spraying, a small amount of insecticide is sprayed over a large area, one to two tablespoons per acre. When applied according to label instructions by a licensed professional, it does not pose a health risk to people, pets or the environment. According to the EPA, people may prefer to stay inside and close windows and doors when spraying takes place, but it is not necessary.

Additional information:

Medical operations:

The state has completed 988 medical missions transporting more than 3,200 patients from health care facilities affected by Harvey. Texas Mobile Medical Units have seen 1,252 patients and transferred 131 to health care facilities. Medical shelters for people who need specialized medical care remain open in Houston and San Antonio.

Recovery information:

Floodwater can create significant hazards, and everyone should remember basic precautions:

  • Pay attention to local media for the latest from leaders on local conditions.
  • Listen for announcements about the safety of public drinking water and follow “boil water” alerts for your area.
  • Avoid floodwater when possible. It may contain bacteria, hazardous chemicals and dangerous debris.
  • Never run electrical generators inside your home, because carbon monoxide can build up and kill.

More information on flood and recovery precautions is available on the DSHS News Releases page. Visit the Texas Prepares website to download Fact Sheets in English and Spanish, including:

More resources:

  • 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.
  • Follow DSHS on Twitter and Facebook for more safety information.

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

Zika Virus – September 19, 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 September 15, 30 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 - 2
Brazoria - 1
Brazos - 1
Cameron† - 10            
Collin - 1 
Dallas - 2      
Denton - 1 
Harris - 6             
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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Cyclospora – August 22, 2017

DSHS and local health departments around the state are investigating an increase in the number of reported cases of the Cyclospora parasite beginning in mid-June. Long-lasting illnesses caused by the parasite, with symptoms like watery diarrhea, loss of appetite and fatigue, have been seen in various parts of the state and have prompted public health experts to advise health care providers and the public to be aware of the symptoms and pursue testing when needed.

Past outbreaks have been associated with imported fresh produce, and disease investigators are busy gathering information about the current illnesses as they attempt to determine whether there is a common source for the current outbreak. DSHS will update the 2017 count of Cyclospora cases here on Tuesdays and Fridays during the outbreak. More information is available in the DSHS news release Cyclospora on the Rise in Texas; Testing, Reporting Key to Finding Source.

2017 Cyclospora cases by county
County Cases
Bandera
Bastrop
Bell 2
Bexar 35
Bowie 1
Brazoria 2
Brazos 1
Cameron 1
Collin 7
Comal 3
Cooke 1
Coryell 2
Dallas 13
Denton 9
Erath 1
Fort Bend 12
Freestone 1
Galveston 3
Gillespie 1
Gregg 1
Guadalupe
Harris 66
Hays 2
Hidalgo 3
Hood
Hunt
Johnson 3
Kaufman
Kendall 3
Lavaca 1
Maverick 2
Midland 2
Montague 1
Montgomery 7
Palo Pinto 1
Panola 1
Parker 3
Rains 1
Red River 1
Tarrant 20
Throckmorton 1
Travis 23
Walker 1
Washington 1
Williamson 8
Wilson 1
Wood 1
County pending or unknown 4
Total 259

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West Nile – September 20, 2017

Texas is again experiencing illnesses caused by West Nile virus, a virus spread by mosquitoes. So far this year, there have been 80 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 1
Collin 3 5 8
Cooke 1 1
Dallas 10 7 17
Denton 5 2 7
El Paso 3 8 11
Ellis 1 1
Harris 7 7
Johnson 1 1
Limestone 1 1
Lubbock 1 1
Montgomery 2 2
Nueces 1 1
Panola 1 1
San Patricio 1 1
Tarrant 7 9 16
Val Verde 1 1
Van Zandt 1 1
Webb   1 1
Total 36 44 80

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Last updated September 21, 2017