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West Nile Virus Death in Harris County, Effects of Deportation in Houston, And ‘Community Conversations’ Outreach Series

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

West Nile Virus death in Harris County

Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health (right), is asking the public to try to reduce mosquito-breeding sites.
Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health (right), is asking the public to try to reduce mosquito-breeding sites.

Harris County Public Health (HCPH)  has confirmed a West Nile virus (WNV) related death in Harris County. It is the first WNV-related death in the county and in the state of Texas for 2018. The patient, whose identity remains confidential, was a 45-54 year-old male from Southwest Harris County and had underlying chronic health conditions.

West Nile season typically runs from June through October. As of September 20, 303 mosquito samples have tested positive for the virus. The areas where those samples have been detected have been sprayed to reduce the risk of disease.

HCPH’s executive director Doctor Umair Shah asked the public to try to reduce mosquito-breeding sites.

So far this year, a total of six human cases of WNV have been confirmed (including this WNV related death) in Harris County and the city of Houston.

Most people who are infected with West Nile will not develop any symptoms.

Effects of deportation and detention in Houston

New research shows how immigration law enforcement has negatively impacted the health, finances and well-being of families in Houston and other U.S. cities.

Immigrant parents said they’re unable to afford diapers and struggle to pay utility bills and feed their kids after the detention or deportation of a family member, according to a study by Kaiser Health.

Twenty families and 12 stakeholders (legal service providers, educators) were surveyed for the study, which was conducted in Houston and other cities nationwide.  

An estimated 13 percent of children in Texas and 15 percent of kids in Houston have at least one undocumented parent.

The study also found that immigrant families fear using public benefits, like Medicaid and food stamps.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks to mental health advocates at a kickoff roundtable event for the city’s “Community Conversations” public meeting series.

‘Community Conversations’ outreach series

As kids continue to recover from trauma related to Hurricane Harvey, advocates are learning more about who needs the most help.

Symptoms of trauma tend to peak 18 months after a disaster, care providers say. Ahead of that mark, mental health leaders are starting a series of “community conversations” in each City Council district, asking people how to better meet mental health needs.

While meetings will be held in all parts of Houston, City and community leaders say they especially want to hear from families who were already struggling before the storm.

Public meetings will be held at these locations:

  • September 25: District D, Sunnyside Multi-Service Center
  • September 27: District I, Magnolia Multi-Service Center
  • October 2: District C, West-End Multi-Service Center
  • October 3: District J, Southwest Multi-Service Center
  • October 9: District F, Alief Community Center
  • October 11: District B, Kashmere Multi-Service Center
  • October 17: District G, HCC Alief Hayes Campus
  • October 18: District H, HCC Northline Campus
  • October 23: District A, Region 4 Education Center
  • November 1: District E, Kingwood Community Center
  • November 6: District K, Stimley-Blue Ridge Library