News Updates

Current news topics:


2019 Novel Coronavirus – Jan. 24, 2020

The Texas Department of State Health Services is working with local health departments to assess people with respiratory illness and recent travel to Wuhan, China for 2019 novel coronavirus testing. Public health personnel have identified four people in Texas who meet the testing criteria due to their travel history and respiratory symptoms. One has tested negative and is not a case. Testing is ongoing for the other three. DSHS won’t provide additional details unless there is a positive result.

Anyone who has recently traveled in Wuhan, China should monitor themselves for symptoms and contact their health care provider if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of being in Wuhan. DSHS is urging health care professionals to ask patients with respiratory symptoms about their travel history and contact their local or regional health department if they think a patient may have novel coronavirus.

There are simple steps everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you’re sick, stay home.

DSHS has additional information on the 2019 novel coronavirus for the public, health care professionals, health departments and labs at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

▲ Top


Influenza – Jan. 24, 2020

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 nine 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) 5
6/5S (Southeast Texas) 2
7 (Central Texas) 1
8 (South Texas) 3
11 (Rio Grande Valley) 2
Total 13 
 Map of Public Health Regions

▲ Top


Lung Injury Associated with Vaping – Jan. 14, 2020

DSHS has identified 237 Texas cases of severe lung disease in people who report vaping before developing symptoms, including four deaths. 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, 2,561 cases have been reported in all 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) 4
2/3 (North Texas) 127
4/5N (East Texas) 6
6/5S (Southeast Texas) 43
7 (Central Texas) 28
8 (South Texas) 13
9/10 (West Texas) 3
11 (Rio Grande Valley) 13
Not yet determined 0
Total 237
Figure 1: Cases of Lung Injury Associated with Vaping, Texas, as of 1/14/20 

▲ Top


West Nile Virus – Jan. 7, 2020

Surveillance for mosquito-borne diseases has ended for 2019. DSHS confirmed 30 cases of West Nile Virus in Texas last year, including three deaths. We'll resume posting weekly updates as mosquito season picks up in the spring.

Mosquito activity is possible in parts of Texas year-round, so remember to protect yourself from bites by wearing long sleeves and pants, applying insect repellent and removing standing water from around homes and businesses.

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


▲ Top


Last updated January 24, 2020