Five New Mexicans have died so far this year from flu related illnesses, ranging in age from 29 to 92. The announcement from the state Department of Health comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning of epidemic levels of flu activity nationally.
There’s been so much media attention focused on the Ebola crisis in West Africa and whether the healthcare system in the U.S. is ready for cases here, it’s easy to forget that the U.S. flu season has begun. Each year thousands of people in the U.S. die from the flu, tens of thousands in bad years. Last year there were 34 flu-related deaths in New Mexico.
New Mexico health officials have screened 56 babies for tuberculosis since an El Paso hospital worker tested positive for the potentially lethal respiratory infection last summer. Now, state health officials say none of the babies living here appear to have contracted the disease.
“So far we haven’t seen any clear evidence of transmission with the babies here in New Mexico, so that’s a very positive thing,” said New Mexico Department of Health Tuberculosis Program Manager Diana Fortune.
The federal government has tightened restrictions on prescription hydrocodone combo drugs to try to reduce overdoses. That could be good news for New Mexico, which has the second highest opioid overdose rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Drug Enforcement Agenct now considers the highly addictive pain medication a Schedule II drug alongside oxycodone and methamphetamine.
Health Department officials in Texas and New Mexico say as many as 750 newborns might have been exposed to tuberculosis at Providence Memorial Hospital’s nursery unit in El Paso. Over 50 of those babies are thought to live in southern New Mexico.
The number of babies born addicted to drugs has risen sharply over the last decade or so in New Mexico. KUNM’s Public Health reporter Marisa Demarco brings us this story of how stigma surrounding addiction and pregnancy is contributing to the increase.
Mia just gave birth to a healthy baby boy even though she was addicted to methamphetamine until about a month and a half before he was born. Her name has been changed in this story to protect her identity. "My number one fear when I was using while pregnant was to lose him or him being born with something wrong," she said
The board that oversees New Mexico's medical marijuana program this week unanimously rejected rule changes proposed by the state Department of Health.
Dr. William Johnson chairs the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board which is made up of doctors. He says many of the changes proposed by the Department of Health would hurt patient access to medical marijuana.
The Department of Health sent clinical samples to the CDC today to make sure a New Mexico patient doesn’t have the Ebola virus.
A 30-year-old woman in Albuquerque went to the hospital this weekend with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a fever after returning from a trip to West Africa, where an Ebola epidemic this year has killed more than 1,000 people.
New data from the Centers For Disease Control conclude that nationally, overdose deaths among women have been on the rise since 1999; and that since 2007, more women have died from overdoses than motor vehicle-related injuries.
However, officials in New Mexico say those trends are nothing new in the state.