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COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) – Feb. 24, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed multiple cases of novel coronavirus 2019 in people under federal quarantine at JBSA-Lackland in San Antonio. The first was a traveler who returned on a U.S. State Department-chartered flight from Wuhan City, China. The others returned on a State Department flight for passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. The individuals will remain isolated at medical facilities until they test negative for the virus and are no longer at risk of spreading it. The CDC has the latest information on the number of people under quarantine who are infected and is updating its national numbers each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

There are no other cases in Texas, and these cases do not change the risk of infection for people in San Antonio or other parts of Texas because the patients have been under federal quarantine since their return and have not interacted with the public in Texas communities. The risk for all Texans remains low.

All travelers who have returned from China should stay home and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after they were last in China. They should consult with a health care provider if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath within that period. Local health departments across the state are in contact daily with returned travelers to verify that they remain symptom free.

The Texas Department of State Health Services 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 COVID-19. DSHS is working with local health departments to monitor and assess people with recent travel to China for possible COVID-19 testing.

There are simple steps everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

DSHS has additional information on the COVID-19 for the public, health care professionals, health departments and labs at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

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Influenza – Feb. 21, 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 15 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) 7
6/5S (Southeast Texas) 2
7 (Central Texas) 1
8 (South Texas) 3
11 (Rio Grande Valley) 2
Total 15
Map of Public Health Regions

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Lung Injury Associated with Vaping – Feb. 25, 2020

DSHS has identified 250 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, 2,758 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) 136
4/5N (East Texas) 6
6/5S (Southeast Texas) 43
7 (Central Texas) 31
8 (South Texas) 14
9/10 (West Texas) 3
11 (Rio Grande Valley) 13
Not yet determined 0
Total 250
Figure 1: Cases of Lung Injury Associated with Vaping, Texas, as of 2/11/2020 

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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


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Last updated February 25, 2020