Infectious Diseases

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.


Monkeypox-Related Death Still Under Investigation as Vaccines Remain in Short Supply - 09/06/2022

Monkeypox made national headlines recently when Harris County Public Health reported that that a severely immunocompromised person in the county who was “presumptive positive” for the disease became the first person to die after contracting it.


Novavax COVID Vaccine Available to Help Reach Patients Hesitant About mRNA Vaccines - 09/06/2022

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.


CDC Webinar: How to Recognize and Report Polio, Reinforce Vaccination - 08/30/2022

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigates a case of polio in New York state, the agency is encouraging physicians and health care professionals to ensure their patients are up to date on their polio vaccinations.


New COVID Boosters Expected for Fall; Preorder by Aug. 30 - 08/29/2022

With new COVID-19 boosters on the horizon targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron strains of the virus, Texas health officials have opened up preorders for these latest vaccines, which are expected to roll out this fall.


Tips for Monkeypox Testing - 08/23/2022

As monkeypox continues to spread in Texas, it’s possible you will encounter cases in your practice. If you do suspect a case of monkeypox, or need to prepare, the Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Infectious Diseases has these tips for you when thinking about testing for monkeypox.


Texas Medicaid to Loosen Access to Hepatitis C Treatment - 08/21/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C have struggled for years to access potentially curative antiviral medications. But this will get much easier on Sept. 1.


Health Commissioner Reflects on Texas’ Pandemic Response, Honored by State Senate - 08/18/2022

Nearly two and a half years after the first positive COVID-19 test result was reported in Texas, Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, is taking stock of what happened next and how to prevent the next pandemic.


Talk to Patients About: Monkeypox - 08/05/2022

Monkeypox cases, rarely seen outside of countries in Africa, are rising rapidly, including in Texas, where 485 cases had been reported as of Aug. 2. As a result, physicians may be fielding questions from concerned patients.


UPDATE: Monkeypox Warrants Vigilance Amid National, Global Health Emergency - 08/05/2022

Physicians and other health care professionals should be vigilant to the possibility of monkeypox in patients after the Biden administration declared the outbreak a national public health emergency.


Getting Another Shot: Physicians Combat Post-COVID Vaccine Hesitancy - 07/29/2022

Thousands of Texas children are getting back-to-school vaccinations before starting the new academic year. As they do, Texas physicians see evidence that skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccines has turned into skepticism about all types of vaccines, infecting once-healthy public perceptions about childhood immunizations.


Monkeypox Wave Intensifies; Get Educated With TMA Fact Sheet - 06/24/2022

The monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. is now the worst documented wave of the disease in the nation’s history, surpassing the previous one in 2003. As cases of this rarely seen disease climb, the Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Infectious Diseases has put together a four-page fact sheet, Monkeypox: What Physicians Need to Know, to help educate physicians.


State Webinar: COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5 - 06/17/2022

The Texas Department of State Health Services is holding its latest Texas Vaccine Provider Webinar, focusing on the launch of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5, today from noon to 1:30 pm CT.


Monkeypox Cases Resurface; CDC Urges Vigilance - 06/09/2022

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.


Early RSV Spread Prompts State to Make Synagis More Available - 06/07/2022

High-risk children enrolled in Medicaid and two children’s health programs will be able to access the medication Synagis in the coming weeks to combat an earlier-than-expected resurgence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), state health authorities say.


CDC Issues New Recommendations on Possible Adenovirus-Hepatitis Cases - 05/25/2022

As cases of pediatric hepatitis climb across the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its previous health alert on the threat with more recommendations for clinicians.


CDC Probing Monkeypox Case in Dallas - 05/24/2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a case of monkeypox in a person who was diagnosed with the virus after traveling from Nigeria to Dallas.


Texas No. 1 in Congenital Syphilis Cases: How All Docs Can Help - 05/11/2022

With Texas leading the nation in the number of congenital syphilis cases, a Texas Medical Association collaboration on new resources aims to help all physicians understand the growing public health threat and tackle it head on through improved diagnosis and treatment of the disease.


Texas Physician COVID Profiles - 05/10/2022

Read about the experiences of some Texas physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.


State Recruiting Docs to Give COVID Preexposure Drug Evusheld - 04/05/2022

State health officials want to spread the word about Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody treatment that helps prevent COVID-19 infection among immunocompromised patients at high risk of progression to severe cases, including hospitalization and death.


Emergency Doc Finds Building Patient Trust More Difficult During COVID - 04/05/2022

As the COVID-19 pandemic languishes into its third year, physicians continue to bear the brunt of its impact, from unpredictable surges to worsening burnout. Craig Meek, MD, an emergency medicine physician in East Texas and president of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, has observed another more profound effect, which he suspects is changing the profession in irrevocable ways.


DSHS Taking Preorders of Pfizer COVID Vaccine for Kids as Young as 6 Months - 04/05/2022

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is requesting that COVID-19 vaccine administrators preorder Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years while it awaits emergency use authorization from the federal government.


NIHCM Collects Data Showing Impact of COVID Boosters - 04/05/2022

Highlighting the effectiveness of COVID-19 booster shots – including their overwhelming effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death – the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation has collected a slew of COVID-related data from other sources in its February newsletter, Cutting Through COVID-19 Confusion.