Lauren Werner, public health nurse with Texas Department of State Health Services, delivered the annual 2018 Gonzales County public health report Monday, April 29 to the Commissioners Court. The report detailed the public health services provided in county, activities across the region and various statistics on immunizations, reported communicable diseases and other public health related information.
According to the report, Gonzales County saw a general drop in reported communicable diseases from 2017 to 2018. Campylobacteriosis, a common bacterial infection, saw a drop from 19 reported cases in 2017 to only four in 2018. The county did see a slight increase in Shiga toxin-producing E. coli cases, from eight in 2017 to 10 in 2018. The county also had a slew of solo reports in 2018 that were up from zero reported cases in 2017.
Education and accountability efforts highlight the region activities. The report specifies educating mothers on breastfeeding and safe sleep; participating in county emergency preparedness planning and response efforts and serving on the Gonzales and Nixon-Smiley Independent School District Health Advisory Councils, as well as, the Gonzales County Community Resource Coordination Group as a few of the key activities the organization has participated in.
The percent of school students with a conscientious exemption from immunizations filed at the school district level in the county saw a slight increase, going from 0.15% in 2017 to 0.20% in 2018. Forty-six retail food inspections took place, nine children received services through the Specialized Health and Social Services program and four rabies investigations were conducted with half of those identifying rabies-positive animals.
Werner also made note of the recent Measles outbreak. The once thought eradicated virus has seen a resurgence in the United States.
“From Jan. 1 to April 11, 2019, there’s 555 individual cases of measles that have been confirmed in the United States, with 10 of those cases being in Texas,” Werner said. “This is the second highest number of cases reported in United States since measles was eliminated back in 2000.”
Werner said the outbreak may have begun with international travelers.
“The Guadalupe County case that we heard about, that traveler was from The Philippines.”
The Philippines has been marred with a measles outbreak that began in February 2019. As of Mar. 26, 2019, there has been over 23,000 reported measles cases and 338 deaths in The Philippines.
Werner said the best way to prevent catching the disease is to become immunized.
Other news from the meeting: