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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-Mexican Border Study finds pesticides a BIG problem.
HARLINGEN,TX— Air samples from homes of Hispanic mothers-to-be along the Texas-Mexico border contained multiple pesticides in a majority of the houses, according to a study conducted by the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.
Several studies have reported that pesticide exposure may adversely affect mental and motor development of the infants during infancy and childhood. The new report is in the summer issue of the Texas Public Health Journal .
Click Here to read the entire story as it appears in the HSC News Publication, and what suggestions are being made to remedy the situation. Story by Will Sansom and Sheila Hotchkin.
The dengue threat
The Express-News reported this weekend that the CDC is encouraging South Texas health professionals “to become aware of the diagnosis of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever [DHF]“, based upon a new confirmation by the CDC that at least one case from the 2005 outbreak of dengue in Brownsville was actually contracted within Brownsville itself, not in Mexico or elsewhere. The article suggests CDC epidemiologists are concerned about sharp increases in the incidence of dengue and particularly of the more serious DHF across Mexico, including in Tamaulipas, since 2000. The mosquito that spreads dengue, Aedes aegypti, lives in Texas, thus providing a possibility that the disease could move across the Mexican border and take hold in South Texas. [See also: CDC MMWR for 9 August 2007.]
Another recent Express-News article described local research in progress at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research that is working toward development of vaccines for dengue; other recent news [English | Spanish] describes a clinical trial currently underway in Puerto Rico. However, progress cannot come too soon for thousands of victims of current outbreaks in Honduras, Puerto Rico and elsewhere  .
The Library of Congress Rolling Exhibit “Gateway to Knowledge” Visits Kerrville Feb 18-19
The Library of Congress has hit the road with a traveling exhibition called “Gateway to Knowledge” that will be visiting Kerrville, TX this weekend on February 18 and 19.
According to the press release, “The Library of Congress will launch a new traveling exhibition late in September that will bring facsimiles of many of its top treasures and information about the millions of resources in its unparalleled collections to the heartland of America. The exhibit will include programming especially for teachers and students and provide relevant and engaging learning experiences for lifelong learners. The truck, which will be staffed and driven by two docents well-versed in the Library and its collections, will be parked at various schools, libraries, community centers and other public venues. The exhibition will also outline the history of the Library, including Thomas Jefferson’s role in allowing its re-establishment following the burning of the U.S. Capitol in 1814 by providing his personal book collection to the nation. Jefferson’s organization of his books by ‘Memory, Reason and Imagination’ will inform the organization of the exhibition.”
Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Senior Citizens
Today’s children are tomorrow’s senior citizens. Therefore, the UTHSCSA Teacher Enrichment Initiatives Multidisciplinary Health Science Curriculum was created to bring together UTHSCSA Researchers, health professionals, and area school districts to enhance students understanding of everything from anatomy to vision. The Positively Aging website provides interdisciplinary activities to aid students in developing healthy habits which will “enhance the quality of their lives as they age.”
Type O Negative Blood Donors Needed
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) is currently in need of O negative type donors. In collaboration with area blood banks supplying Ft. Hood victims, STBTC has sent out O negative blood and platelets. O negative blood is the universal blood type and can be transfused to a patient of any blood type in an emergency. Platelet donations are also being collected by appointment this weekend. STBTC has six locations in San Antonio, one in New Braunfels and one in Victoria, Texas. All locations are currently accepting O negative donors. Visit www.southtexasblood.org or call 210.731.5990 for location hours or directions. Every day in South Texas, 600 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities to help save lives of patients with cancer and other diseases, organ transplant recipients and accident victims. Donors must present identification. Anyone who is 16 years old weighing 120 pounds (with parental consent form), or at least 17 years old weighing 110 pounds and in good general health may donate blood. They have movies to watch and you’re welcome to bring your own. Takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to contribute.
U.S. Border Residents Seeking Care in Mexico
A study scheduled for publication in the November 2008 issue of AJPH examines the factors associated with Mexican-American border residents’ use of health services in Mexico. The authors, from UT-Pan Am and the UT School of Public Health in Austin, found that middle-income Mexican-Americans were more likely to seek care in Mexico:
“An interesting profile of users and nonusers of Mexican health care emerged from these findings; those at the opposite ends of the household income categories were less likely to use medical care in Mexico for entirely different reasons. Participants with household incomes below $7000 reported either Medicaid coverage or dependence on free or reduced cost medical care in the United States. Conversely, those reporting incomes higher than $30000 were more likely to have private health insurance and used US health care. Participants in the… middle-income categories were more likely to be uninsured and to use medical care in Mexico.”
A key conclusion is that, “… as the health care system in the United States becomes increasingly expensive relative to the alternative in Mexico, the incentive to cross the border for health care will remain an important option for border residents and an important dimension of the border’s social context.”
Upcoming day camp for children of fallen soldiers
Camp Operation Render Comfort is a free day-camp program offered by the Southwest Mental Health Center, for children and teens from across Texas who have lost a loved one in Afghanistan and Iraq. The October 6 program is sponsored by a $10,000 grant from the Texas Resources for Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment (TRIAD) Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation and includes workshops for parents as well as activities for children and teens.
UT Library Staff Members Travel to Laredo
Library staff members recently spent several active days in Laredo. On Tuesday, July 13, and Wednesday, July 14, Linda Levy and Paula Maez worked with about 30 high school students participating in the MedEd program summer camp. Using scenarios based on the Gulf oil spill disaster, Linda and Paula introduced the students to health professionals and scientists who might be involved and the information resources that they might use. The students learned to use resources such as PubMed (physicians), ToxNet (toxicologists), MedlinePlus (volunteers), the CDC site (food scientists), and the EPA site (epidemiologists and environmental engineers).
On Tuesday afternoon, Paula, Linda, Jorge Martinez, and Keith Cogdill went to Mercy Ministries of Laredo
to bring two laptops and other equipment purchased through Express Outreach Award funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – South Central Region. The equipment will enhance the delivery of health information that the Mercy promotoras currently provide through community talks and home visits. During this visit, Jorge trained the promotoras to use the equipment, and Linda and the promotoras also spent time practicing with MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español, especially focusing on the education videos.