DSHS Urges Hantavirus Precautions Following Golden Crescent Case
December 22, 2014
The Texas Department of State Health Services is reminding people to protect themselves from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a rare but sometimes fatal illness, after a resident of the Golden Crescent region along the central Texas coast was diagnosed with HPS.
Hantavirus is carried by certain species of rats and mice that shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. The virus can be transmitted to people by stirring up nesting materials or contaminated dust, allowing the virus to be breathed in by humans. Cases have been linked to cleaning out buildings where rodents live and working in dusty environments like ranches and oilfields.
DSHS recommends the following precautions:
- Seal openings that may allow rats and mice to enter homes and workplaces.
- Remove brush, woodpiles, trash and other items that may attract rats and mice.
- Tightly close garbage cans, pet food containers and other food sources.
- Wear protective gloves when handling dead mice and rats or cleaning up nesting areas, urine or droppings.
- Before cleaning up nests or droppings indoors, open windows and doors to ventilate the area for at least 30 minutes.
- Do not stir up nests by sweeping or vacuuming. Dampen areas with dead rodents, nests, urine and droppings before cleanup with a 1:10 bleach solution or other disinfectant.
- If dust will be stirred up, DSHS recommends using goggles and a HEPA or N-95 mask.
Early symptoms of hantavirus infection include fatigue, fever and muscle aches that may be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath. If hantavirus is suspected, people should contact their health care provider immediately and mention any potential exposure to rodents, their nests or their waste.
There have been five HPS cases reported in Texas in 2014. A total of 43 HPS cases have been confirmed in Texas since 1993, the first year the disease was detected. Of those, 14 were fatal.
El DSHS insta a tomar precauciones contra el hantavirus tras registrarse un caso en la región de Golden Crescent
22 de diciembre de 2014
El Departamento Estatal de Servicios de Salud de Texas les recuerda a las personas que se protejan contra el síndrome pulmonar del hantavirus (HPS), una enfermedad poco común pero en ocasiones mortal, luego de que a un residente de la región de Golden Crescent en la costa central de Texas se le diagnosticara HPS.
Ciertas especies de ratas y ratones son portadoras del hantavirus y expulsan el virus en la orina, el excremento y la saliva. El virus se puede transmitir al ser humano cuando material de los nidos o polvo contaminado son levantados en el aire, lo cual permite que el ser humano inhale el virus. Los casos se han vinculado a actividades de limpieza en edificios donde viven roedores y de trabajos en ambientes con polvo como las granjas y los campos petrolíferos.
El DSHS recomienda las siguientes precauciones:
- Selle las aberturas que pudieran permitir que las ratas y los ratones entren a las casas y los lugares de trabajo.
- Remueva la maleza, los montones de leña, la basura y las demás cosas que puedan atraer a las ratas y a los ratones.
- Cierre firmemente los botes de basura, los recipientes con alimentos para mascotas y las demás fuentes alimenticias.
- Use guantes protectores para manipular ratas y ratones muertos o para limpiar las áreas donde haya nidos, orina o excremento.
- Antes de limpiar los lugares donde haya nidos o excremento en interiores, abra las ventanas y las puertas para ventilar el área por al menos 30 minutos.
- No barra ni pase la aspiradora donde haya nidos. Humedezca las áreas donde haya roedores muertos, nidos, orina y excremento, antes de proceder a la limpieza, con una solución compuesta de 1 parte de blanqueador u otro desinfectante por 10 partes de agua.
- Si se va a levantar polvo, el DSHS recomienda el uso de lentes protectores y mascarillas HEPA o N-95.
Entre los primeros síntomas de la infección por hantavirus están la fatiga, la fiebre y los dolores musculares, que pueden ir acompañados de dolores de cabeza, mareo, escalofrío, náusea, vómito, diarrea y dolor abdominal. Entre los síntomas tardíos están la tos y la falta de respiración. Si se sospecha la presencia del hantavirus, las personas deben comunicarse con su proveedor de servicios de salud de inmediato e informar al médico de la posible exposición a los roedores, a sus excrementos o al material de sus nidos.
Se ha informado de cinco casos de HPS en Texas en 2014. Se han confirmado un total de 43 casos de HPS en Texas desde 1993, el primer año en que se detectó la presencia de la enfermedad. De ellos, 14 fueron casos mortales.
USDA Offers Tips to Help Keep Your Holiday Illness-Free
December 9, 2014
As the end of the year approaches, it’s likely there are multiple meals and parties in your future. Carrying food from one location to another and sharing dishes with a crowd means more opportunity for bacteria to grow and cause food poisoning. Whether you’re an experienced cook, a first-time party host, or simply adding a dish to the potluck lineup, the holidays can make even the most confident chefs nervous.
Read the full story here or you may contact the City of Pasadena Health Department at 713.475.5529 with any questions you may have.
Texans Cleared From Ebola Monitoring
October 20, 2014
A group of 43 people in Texas who had contact with the state's first Ebola patient have been cleared from twice-daily monitoring after reaching the 21-day mark, the longest incubation period for the disease.
They have no Ebola symptoms and are not at risk of developing Ebola. They are able to continue normal daily activities without being monitored for symptoms. The group is a mix of health care workers, household contacts and community members whose last possible contact with the state's first patent was Sept. 28.
State health officials have been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the local health department in Dallas to closely monitor people who have had contact with the three Ebola patients. About 120 more people continue to be monitored for symptoms.
"Epidemiologists have worked around the clock to call and visit people who may have had any exposure, to make sure they were asymptotic and doing well," said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. "I'm happy we can tell people they are free and clear of monitoring. It provides a measure of relief and reassurance."
An additional group of people also are being monitored for symptoms because they were passengers on at least one of two Frontier flights that carried one of the health care workers who was diagnosed with Ebola shortly after travels. A small group of those passengers were identified as having sat within three feet of the health care worker and are considered to be at higher risk of exposure. That group has been directed to stay home.
Texas has had three confirmed Ebola cases. No additional cases of the disease have been diagnosed in Texas. The first patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was exposed to the disease in West Africa before traveling to Texas and being diagnosed. The second and third patients are both health care workers who cared for Duncan in the hospital.
CDC Advisory issues guidance regarding Ebola virus
August 4, 2014
Nigerian health authorities have confirmed a diagnosis of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in a patient who died on Friday in a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, after traveling from Liberia on July 20, 2014. The report marks the first Ebola case in Nigeria linked to the current outbreak in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
Health authorities also reported this weekend that two U.S. citizens working in a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, have confirmed Ebola virus infection. These recent cases, together with the continued increase in the number of Ebola cases in West Africa, underscore the potential for travel-associated spread of the disease and the risks of EVD to healthcare workers.
While the possibility of infected persons entering the U.S. remains low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that healthcare providers in the U.S. should consider EVD in the differential diagnosis of febrile illness, with compatible symptoms, in any person with recent (within 21 days) travel history in the affected countries and consider isolation of those patients meeting these criteria, pending diagnostic testing.
Further information is available here.
Texas Investigating Measles Exposures at Kansas Event
July 17, 2014
Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a measles health alert after being notified by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that more than 30 Texas residents may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease at a Wichita, Kansas, softball event during the July 4th weekend.
At least three recreational softball teams from Texas traveled to Wichita to participate in the informal tournament held at the South Lakes Sports Complex. DSHS is investigating to get additional details about the event and who may have been exposed. DSHS has not yet identified any Texas measles cases associated with the event.
DSHS urges anyone in Texas who attended the event to call the department (512-776-7676) to report the potential exposure.
Anyone with measles symptoms should call their health care provider. Health care providers should be on alert for potential exposures and patients with measles symptoms.
The incubation period of measles is about two weeks from exposure to onset of rash, but may be as short as one week or as long as three weeks. People are contagious from four days before onset of rash to four days after the appearance of rash. The rash usually begins on the face and spreads to the trunk. Other symptoms include fever (higher than 101 degrees), cough, runny nose and sore eyes.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune or vaccinated will also become infected with the measles virus.State health officials urge immunization to protect against and prevent the spread of measles. People should check their immunization status with their healthcare provider.
Last year there were 27 reported measles cases in Texas and none in 2012.
Doctors should consider measles in their diagnosis if they have a patient with a rash and fever. If measles is suspected, they should report the patient to their local health department as soon as possible. People who have measles or are suspected of having measles should seek medical attention and otherwise stay home until four days after the rash appeared. People with measles symptoms should contact the medical provider’s office before arrival to limit spread to other patients.
The health alert is available here.
Texas investiga exposiciones al sarampión durante evento de softbol en Kansas.