Infectious Diseases

New 24/7 Hotline to Assist in Treatment for Infected Newborns - 02/23/2024

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently debuted a 24/7 telehealth help line to assist pediatric infectious disease specialists in treating neonatal illnesses, namely congenital syphilis, whose rates continue to rise in Texas.


Measles: Updated Information and Resources Available to Fight Rising Cases - 02/21/2024

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: Measles - 02/20/2024

Few Americans today remember when measles was deadly. But before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, the disease killed about 2.6 million globally each year. By 2016, vaccination programs cut that number to about 89,000.


DSHS Introduces Interactive Respiratory Illness Dashboard - 02/08/2024

The Texas Department of State Health Services has developed an interactive dashboard to help physicians across the state combat respiratory illness during its peak season, which typically runs from October through May in Texas.


TMA FAQ Addresses Child and Maternal RSV Treatments - 01/19/2024

With respiratory syncytial virus season well under way, complicated by a temporary shortage of a new treatment, the Texas Medical Association has compiled a frequently-asked-questions document to help inform physicians on available preventive treatments for mothers and infants at risk of the illness.


Talk To Your Patients About: Mumps - 09/11/2023

The March issue of Texas Medicine highlights mumps, which spreads easily through sneezing and coughing, or just touching infected surfaces. A vaccine, first introduced in 1967, reduced U.S. cases by 99 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Watch Herd Immunity at Work - 09/11/2023

A new simulation  shows the brutal intensity of a measles outbreak after the introduction of just one sick person to a community.


Multiple Mumps Cases Reported in Immigrant Detention Centers Across Texas - 09/06/2023

Texas physicians should be on the lookout for mumps as health officials investigate multiple cases of the infectious disease in immigration centers throughout the state.  


Coronavirus Fears Overshadowing Influenza Threat - 09/06/2023

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.


You Can Prescribe Mosquito Repellent Again to Help Curb Zika - 09/06/2023

To help curb the spread of the virus, which is transmitted through mosquito bites, mosquito repellent prescriptions will be covered through Medicaid and other state programs, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Healthy Texas Women program.


Novavax COVID Vaccine Available to Help Reach Patients Hesitant About mRNA Vaccines - 07/17/2023

The recently introduced COVID-19 vaccine Novavax gives physicians another tool for combating the disease, and it enjoys two important differences from previous vaccines that are potential advantages, says San Antonio infectious disease specialist Charles Lerner, MD, a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force.


Heads-Up, Students: No Shot, No College - 06/29/2023

As college-bound students pack their bags to move into the dorm, the physicians of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) want to remind them about an important and required vaccination. Texas law requires almost all new and transfer college students under age 22 to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease at least 10 days before classes begin, or to show proof of vaccination within the previous five years.


Reporting Redesign: Disease Surveillance Relies on Physicians - 06/05/2023

Infectious disease reporting relies on close ties between physicians and local public health entities, especially as COVID surveillance relaxes.


Monkeypox Cases Resurface; CDC Urges Vigilance - 01/05/2023

With cases of monkeypox recently reported in several countries that don’t normally have that virus – including at least one confirmed case in the U.S. – federal health authorities are advising physicians to be on the lookout for the characteristic rash usually associated with monkeypox.


Health Officials Wind Down Monkeypox PHE, Urge Prevention - 12/13/2022

Given the downturn in monkeypox cases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra recently announced the agency does not expect to renew the public health emergency declaration regarding the infectious disease when it ends on Jan. 31.


Flu, RSV Outbreaks Worsen as “Tripledemic” Threatens - 12/02/2022

Texas Medicine Today recently reported that influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and other respiratory ailments are poised to overwhelm hospitals and clinics. The big question then was, would this problem get worse?


Flu and RSV Patients Filling Up Texas Hospitals - 11/08/2022

Two viral respiratory diseases – influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – have made an unwelcome early appearance this fall, causing cases to rise sharply weeks earlier than normal across the U.S.


Talk to Patients About: The New York Polio Outbreak - 11/02/2022

A recent polio outbreak in New York state highlights the importance of vaccination.


CDC: “Brie” Mindful of Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cheese - 11/01/2022

Don’t cut, bake, or serve recalled cheeses this holiday season.


Ebola Outbreak Spurs Precautionary Warning for Texas Physicians - 10/11/2022

A recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Uganda has public health officials reminding Texas physicians to stay vigilant when treating patients with suspected cases.


Keeping Pace: Monkeypox Poses Public Health Challenges - 10/03/2022

In yet another test to the state’s public health response efforts, monkeypox – rarely seen outside of countries in Africa – has spread rapidly since late spring, and Texas physicians and other health care professionals likely unfamiliar with the virus should remain vigilant for the possibility of cases among their patients.


Upcoming Flu Season, Vaccine Hesitancy Could Intensify as Side Effects of Pandemic - 09/27/2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped recent flu seasons, and there’s reason to believe this trend will continue.


CDC: Watch for Uptick in Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Kids With Severe Respiratory Illness - 09/13/2022

Physicians should be vigilant for an uptick in severe respiratory illness requiring hospitalization in children who also test positive for rhinovirus or enterovirus, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health alert.  


Access to Hep C Treatment in Texas Medicaid Delayed - 09/07/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C will have to wait a little longer to access potentially curative antiviral medications.


Reaching for the Cure: Texas Medicaid Doesn't Cover Hep C Drugs Until Patients Are Seriously Ill - 09/07/2022

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.