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    Vision: A Healthy Texas

    Mission: To improve health and well-being in Texas
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West Nile in Texas – May 21, 2015

DSHS has reported the state’s first case of West Nile illness this year, a case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease in a person from Harris County.

People should reduce their risk of exposure to the mosquito-borne virus that causes it by eliminating standing water and other mosquito breeding areas; making sure door, porch and window screens are in good condition; wearing long sleeves and long pants outdoors when possible and using an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus/para-menthane-diol.

As many as 80 percent of people who contract the virus will have no symptoms at all. Almost all others will have West Nile fever with symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. A very small minority will develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease, a life threatening illness that can cause neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

In 2014, there were 379 human cases of West Nile illness in Texas, including six deaths.

County WN Fever WNND Total Cases
Harris 0 1 1
Totals 0 1 1
Human West Nile Cases By County for 2015

More West Nile information

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Blue Bell Update – May 14, 2015

DSHS has finalized a plan with Blue Bell requiring the company to take specific steps before it can sell ice cream to the public. Among the list of requirements, Blue Bell must conduct trial runs of each production line that consistently test negative for Listeria monocytogenes before ice cream from those lines can be sold. The company will also test ice cream, ingredients and equipment for Listeria and let state health inspectors review all results.

Agreement between DSHS and Blue Bell

Blue Bell Creameries previously recalled all products and stopped producing ice cream following the discovery of the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes in certain ice cream products.

Ten past cases of listeriosis (Kansas, 5; Texas, 3; Arizona, 1; Oklahoma, 1) recently have been associated with Blue Bell products. The Texas cases identified as part of the outbreak are related to products made at the company’s Oklahoma plant. The Texas cases were hospitalized for unrelated problems before they developed Listeriosis between 2011 and 2014. The Kansas cases were identified and linked to products from the company’s Brenham plant.

Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The illness primarily affects older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms usually start within several days, though they can develop up to two months after eating contaminated food. Symptoms may include diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms followed by fever or muscle aches.

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Mumps Advisory – May 20, 2015

DSHS has issued a health advisory informing health care providers about a mumps outbreak connected to the University of Texas-Austin. Seven cases have now been confirmed, and DSHS encourages doctors to consider mumps and report suspected cases. Symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, low fever, malaise and muscle aches. Adolescents and adults should make sure their mumps immunization is up to date.

Health Advisory

Additional Information on Mumps

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Chikungunya – May 19, 2015

DSHS has confirmed seven Texas cases of chikungunya in 2015. The viral illness causes fever and severe joint pain and is transmitted by mosquitoes. All reported cases in Texas cases have been imported, meaning that travelers have acquired the illness while visiting parts of the world where the virus is more common. However, those imported cases mean there is a potential for chikungunya to spread in Texas because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit it are present in the state.

County Cases
Dallas 2
El Paso 1
Fort Bend 1
Harris 1
Travis 2

Additional information on chikungunya

Fight the Bite” to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses like chikungunya and West Nile virus.

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Flu Surveillance – May 15, 2015

DSHS’s latest flu surveillance report classifies the geographic distribution of flu activity in Texas as “sporadic,” indicating small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single flu outbreak has been reported. Additionally, the intensity of influenza-like illness, measuring the proportion of doctor visits prompted by flu-like illness, is currently classified as “minimal.”

DSHS tracks the number of pediatric deaths due to the influenza. This season, 16 Texas children have died from the flu.

DSHS urges everyone six months old and older to get vaccinated against the flu. It is particularly important for pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions, because people in those groups are at a greater risk of severe complications if they do get the flu.

Latest Available DSHS Weekly Flu Surveillance Report

Historical DSHS Flu Surveillance Reports


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Last updated May 21, 2015