Infectious Diseases

Physicians Key to Improving Texas’ COVID-19 Vaccine Rates - 05/06/2021

Recent drops in COVID-19 vaccination rates have several causes, but taken together they signal that the effort to immunize Texans has entered a tough new phase – one that will rely more heavily than ever on physicians to distribute the vaccines, says David Lakey, MD, who is vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer at The University of Texas System.


COVID-19 Vaccination: “Please Do Not Turn Anyone Away,” DSHS Asks Physicians - 05/06/2021

Physicians should provide a COVID-19 vaccination to anyone who asks for it – even if that means opening a vial of vaccine for just that person, John Hellerstedt, MD, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), wrote in a letter to physicians and health care professionals.


Adolescents Will Soon Receive COVID-19 Shots. Enroll With DSHS to Give Them - 05/05/2021

Adolescents are next in line to obtain COVID-19 vaccines. To prepare for this big step in combating the pandemic, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) encourages physicians and other health care professionals in Texas Vaccine for Children (TVFC) to enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program, the agency announced.  


Get Paid for COVID-19 Vaccination Costs Not Covered by Insurance Under New HHS Program; Webinar May 6 - 05/04/2021

Since physicians cannot bill patients for COVID-19 vaccine administration, a new federal program aims to fill in the gaps by covering the outstanding costs not covered by health insurance plans.


More COVID-19 Vaccines Available For Your Practice: Order Now - 04/30/2021

Texas’ COVID-19 vaccine supplies are well stocked, and physician practices are likely to see more allocations as the state shifts its vaccination efforts from large, mass vaccination sites “to those where Texans routinely receive medical care,” the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced.


Routine Screen: Regular Testing Needed to End HIV Epidemic - 04/01/2021

Testing is one of the best ways to combat HIV infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine testing for patients between the ages of 13 to 64. Yet, fewer than 40% of eligible people have ever had an HIV test, according to a 2019 CDC study.


COVID-19 Vaccines Info, March 22: Almost 1 Million Doses Coming to Texas - 03/29/2021

The latest COVID-19 vaccination information as of March 22, 2021.


Commentary: Health and Climate Connected - 09/02/2020

Human health is inextricably connected with the health of the environment. Our actions to reduce the threats of climate change and global warming are key to our well-being and survival.


Commentary: Follow the Evidence on Climate Impact - 09/02/2020

While the World Health Organization estimates that climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year worldwide from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress, these estimates are based on assumptions using models that have not been validated using real world, observational data.


Caution Urged as Officials Continue to Monitor Coronavirus - 08/05/2020

State and federal health officials continue to monitor COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, 459,887 cases and 7,497 deaths have been confirmed in Texas, according to a tracker for Texas COVID-19 cases published by the state Department of State Health Services.


The Temperature's Rising: Preparing for the Health Effects of Climate Change - 04/30/2020

In Texas, climate change has been blamed for contributing to the severity of several weather and health events, including the 2011 statewide drought, the 2012 outbreak of West Nile virus in Dallas, Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and the steadily increasing prevalence of vector-borne diseases like Zika and chikungunya. Here are some of the most important climate-related health problems Texas physicians can expect according to climate scientists and the physician experts Texas Medicine spoke to.


CDC Call March 5: What You Need to Know to Prepare for COVID-19 - 03/04/2020

Find out how to identify, manage, and care for potential patients with COVID 19 by participating in on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call and webinar on Thurs.,


San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Rabies Alert - 03/03/2020

State health officials say people who visited the cattle barn at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Feb. 11-14 may need to be assessed for a possible rabies exposure.


Zika Update: Mosquito Repellent Covered Under State Health Programs - 02/20/2020

Mosquito repellant prescriptions are covered under Medicaid and other state programs, including the Healthy Texas Women Program. And although those programs require patients to have a prescription for mosquito repellant, patients don’t need to see a physician to get one.


Reaching for the Cure: Texas Medicaid Doesn't Cover Hepatitis C Drugs Until Patients Are Seriously Ill - 02/18/2020

Infectious disease specialist Ogechika Alozie, MD, has a ready-made solution for patients diagnosed with hepatitis C now that five medications can rid patients of this deadly disease. But for Texas Medicaid patients, there’s a catch. The program does not pay for the cure based just on a diagnosis. Instead, Medicaid pays only after a blood test, biopsy, or sonogram shows the liver is so badly damaged that it’s on the verge of cirrhosis. At that point, patients who get the medication will be cured of their hepatitis C but more vulnerable to other deadly illnesses, like liver cancer.


Medical Students Win TMA Foundation Grants to Help Texans - 02/03/2020

Texans in cities across the state will benefit from nearly $27,000 in Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) grant funding awarded to budding physicians for health-improvement projects.


Continue to Watch for Coronavirus, Health Officials Say - 02/03/2020

Although no cases of the new coronavirus that originated in China have been confirmed in Texas, physicians are urged to use precaution with patients who have a fever and/or symptoms of lower respiratory illness, U.S. health officials said Friday.


Coronavirus Fears Overshadowing Influenza Threat - 01/28/2020

Although the new coronavirus outbreak that began in China has grabbed headlines recently, physicians should remind their patients that influenza continues to be a major concern in Texas.


Urge Patients to Use Common Virus Prevention as Coronavirus Investigation Continues - 01/24/2020

Texas physicians should recommend patients take the usual precautions to avoid viruses as health officials investigate a novel coronavirus outbreak that began in China.


West Nile Cases Rising in Texas; One Death Confirmed - 10/29/2019

State health officials have confirmed 19 cases of West Nile illness in Texas this year, including one death. Most of the confirmed cases have been identified in El Paso with 13, according to data from the Department of State Health Services. Other cases have been confirmed in Brazoria, Floyd, Hale, Harris, Nolan, and Tarrant counties.


State Health Advisory: New Syphilis Testing Requirements During Pregnancy In Effect - 10/04/2019

As of Sept. 1, Texas physicians are required to test pregnant women for syphilis three times: at the first prenatal visit, during the third trimester (no sooner than the 28th week), and at delivery. Previously, state law required testing at the first visit and during the third trimester.


Disease Reporting in Texas: What You Need to Do - 08/23/2019

You’re most likely aware that you are required to report certain health conditions, diseases, and outbreaks – known as “reportable” or “notifiable” conditions. This helps local, state, and federal health officials to track and study those conditions. But you might not be aware of all of the conditions you are required to report, or how, when, and to whom.


Measles: Updated Information and Resources Available to Fight Rising Cases - 08/16/2019

As measles cases continue to rise in Texas and across the U.S., the Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association have created a document to help physicians and other health care professionals combat the highly contagious respiratory illness. The document provides the latest recommendations for diagnosing and reporting measles, immunizations, infection prevention and control, and post-exposure prophylaxis and exclusion.


Talk to Patients About: Texas School Vaccinations - 07/08/2019

All Texas public schools (and most private schools) and colleges require students to have certain shots before they can attend classes.


Talk to Patients About: Whooping Cough - 07/02/2019

But pertussis has made a resurgence. Anti-vaccine sentiment and other factors allow pertussis to spread, especially in school children. But vaccination still remains the best protection.