In Houston alone, 50 babies are diagnosed with sickle cell disease every year and 800 to 1,000 are followed by Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine physicians. More public awareness and education about sickle cell disease is critically important. Although many are aware of the disease, the causes, effects and treatment aren’t widely understood.
Up to 10% of all newborns will spend some time in a neonatal intensive care unit. They will often just spend a few days there due to jaundice or being born as “late preterms” at 34-36 weeks gestation. However, they may have much longer hospital stays due to being very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g at birth) or having congenital health problems. The vast majority of these babies will go home and do well, but they may have unexpected feeding problems.
As the calendar turns from November to December, frost and the sounds of the holidays fill the air. However, each year brings a common pathogen, respiratory syncytial virus, better known as RSV. Last fall, I wrote about RSV in conjunction with the flu and respiratory illness; this season seems to be very active so far, resulting in mild to severe disease in scores of small children in the clinics, emergency rooms and hospital floors.
As I take a moment to reflect on World AIDS Day, it's with the same feeling I had in 1996 after a week visiting children with HIV/AIDS in Romania.
Since adolescents ages 16-21 have the highest rates of meningococcal meningitis, it is important that young people receive the meningococcal meningitis vaccines before going to college.
The video below tells the story of two college students: Jamie Schanbaum, a University of Texas at Austin student who had both of her legs amputated because of meningitis in 2008, and Nicolis Williams, a Texas A&M University student who died in early 2011 from the disease.