The Senior Fiesta is an annual event that brings together many San Antonio area agencies and organizations to highlight services and products of interest to area senior citizens. Sponsored by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Catholic Charities, the event drew 3,500 people in 2010. This year, along with food and live entertainment, there were 87 vendors available at the event including the UT Health Science Center Briscoe Library. Pictured here is Lydia Fletcher, Health Science Center Outreach Services Assistant, demonstrating MedlinePlus® to event attendees interested in learning more about finding reliable health information.
Senior Fiesta 2011 Draws Large Crowds for April 13th Event
Some folk remedies have extremely high lead content
This recent article from the Brownsville Herald took an AP report regarding high lead content of certain folk remedies, and combined it with local reporting on sources of lead poisoning in the Valley. The article centered on a specific incident in Houston to report on several dangerous folk remedies which all contain extremely high levels of lead, including:
- A generally Mexican folk remedy called greta, a yellow or bright orange powder that may be mixed with olive oil when given to treat diarrhea or stomach upset (“empacho“)
- Another generally Mexican folk remedy called azarcón (also known as coral, maría luisa, rueda, alarcón or liga), a orange powder which may also be mixed with olive oil and given to treat stomach ailments like empacho
- A generally Dominican folk remedy called litargirio, a yellow or peach-colored powder traditionally used for a variety of purposes including as a deodorant, foot fungicide, and burn or wound treatment
- A number of ayurvedic remedies common in South Asian immigrant communities, including ghasard and mahayogaraj gugullu
According to the article, nearly 20% of lead poisoning cases in Harris County are blamed on traditional medicines.
Although Brownsville Herald reporter Melissa McEver was unable to find any local retail stores that acknowledged selling greta or azarcón, the national version of the story (see this version from the AP) reported that Harris County investigators had found that some storekeepers would keep such remedies “behind the counter,” bringing them out only for known customers. McEver did, however, quote a Region 11 DSHS official who indicated that pottery and ceramic dishes were found to be a source in many local cases of lead poisoning.
State of Texas Launches New Disaster Planning and Preparedness Website
The Texas Department of State Health Services has launched a new Website, “Ready or Not? Have a Plan,” designed to help Texans prepare for emergencies such as hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks. As part of the awareness campaign, the State of Texas encourages businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and others to co-brand, distribute and display these materials by providing prepared campaign materials.
State Senator Eliot Shapleigh Criticizes Border Health Commission
On March 14 Texas state senator Eliot Shapleigh published an open letter sharply criticizing the Border Health Commission. Shapleigh’s letter highlights persistent health disparities in the border region.
Stay in Circulation
MedlinePlus and the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute remind us that this week (September 17-21) is Stay in Circulation Week, encouraging awareness of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which affects one in 20 Americans over the age of 50. Learn more on the MedlinePlus topic page for Peripheral Vascular Diseases.
Study finds VA needs to expand specialty care in Lower Valley
Veterans in the lower Rio Grande Valley have long advocated for a VA hospital to be built in that area to alleviate the need for them to travel hours to San Antonio’s Audie Murphy VA Hospital for services. However, a new comprehensive study, presented at the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen yesterday, indicates that 98 percent of Lower Valley veterans’ trips to Audie Murphy Hospital are for specialty care — such as cancer treatment, endocrinology, neurology, obstetrics and outpatient surgery — instead of inpatient care. Based on that study, the VA is recommending that the the 34,000 square-foot South Texas VA Health Center, due to be completed in December 2007 adjacent to the RAHC, be expanded to a facility nearly four-and-a-half times that size by 2010, with a focus on specialized services. The recommendations also include contracting with local hospitals for inpatient care and health screenings, and expansion of specialty-care services at the VA outpatient clinic in McAllen. This article from Harlingen’s Valley Morning Star covers the announcement and some of the initial reactions it has received.
Swine Flu – how to stay informed
With the recent Swine Flu outbreak, many of us want to stay informed about the latest information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created a site for information on Swine Flu (http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu). The World Health Organization (WHO) has also created a site (http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html) to post information about swine flu and the latest news.
- Check the WHO Disease Outbreak Center: http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/
- Set up a Google News Alert Use the keywords “swine flu” and the news stories about “swine flu” will be emailed to you
- Check HealthMap for outbreaks.
If you are on twitter, you can follow http://outbreak.tweetmeme.com/ for the most popular links on twitter about the swine flu. The CDC has http://www.twitter.com/cdcemergency with the latest information about swine flu.
Thanks, Mashable for great ideas.
Texas has highest percentage of uninsured: Census Bureau
Today the US Census Bureau released the Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006 report [PDF]. As shown in Table 8 on page 25 of that report (page 32 of the PDF), Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people of any US state, using a three-year average of 2004-2006 data — 24.1%, or over 5.5 million Texans. Census Bureau press release here.
Texas State at San Marcos Celebrates
The Alkek library at Texas State in San Marcos hosted a government information fair on Wednesday, November 17th in celebration of their 55th year as a federal depository library. The designation was awarded in 1955 at the request of then U.S. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson on behalf of his alma mater. The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) includes over 1,200 libraries across the country that provide access to government publications. Uncle Sam is seen here visiting the UT Health Science Center booth displaying information from the National Library of Medicine. Both state and federal agencies were on hand to answer questions and hand out information to the campus community and members of the public.
Texas Wintertime Rabies Vaccine Bait Distribution Begins January 6th
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, distribution of the rabies vaccine bait for coyotes and gray foxes will begin on January 6th, 2008. The rabies bait distribution is part of a 12 year project to create zones of vaccinated coyotes and gray foxes to contain and then eliminate rabies in the areas.
The overall goal is to reduce the threat of the disease to domestic animals and humans. More information about rabies eradication efforts is available from the Oral Rabies Vaccinations Program.
The number of canine rabies cases in South Texas has declined from a high of 142 cases when the program began in 1995 to none in 2002 and 2003, 1 reported in 2004, and none in 2005, 2006 and through November 2007. Gray fox cases are down overall from an all-time high of 265 cases in 1994 to 61 in 2007 through November. The fewest number of cases, eight, was reported in 2005. (Statistics from Texas DSHS)
South Texas counties included in the bait drop: Cameron, Dimmit, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, La Salle, Maverick, Starr, Webb, Willacy, Zapata and Zavala