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Zika is an STD

“Photo” by Alejandra Quiroz
is licensed under CC0.

Zika is an STDZika is a sexually transmitted disease…but have you ever heard it called that before? Likely not, but it is.

Yes, Zika is carried and transmitted by mosquitos, don’t think it’s not. But it’s not the only method of transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn of the dangers of transmitting Zika through sex and provide prevention tips on its website.

But while the CDC provides this information, Zika as an STD is not at the forefront of this public health issue; health professionals and politicians are most concerned with the mosquito factor since the insect has made its way to Florida, and there is also a high concern they could make their way to Louisiana and Texas (two states in our region).

The Oklahoman explains the situation well: “…while mosquitos are a key menace when it comes to Zika, the media and public officials are too focused on them. They also need to pay attention to sex: If we are going to stop the spread of this disease, we are going to need better access to Zika testing for anyone who is sexually active.”

Doctors and nurses, are you warning your patients about this risk?

To read more on the subject, please visit “Zika is an STD: Why are we not calling it one?

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NN/LM South Central Region States Rank in Bottom 10 for Health Care Quality

“AHRQ State Snapshots”
from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

AHRQ State SnapshotsThe Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released the AHRQ State Snapshots graphic, coinciding with new reports, comparing the quality of health care among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The snapshot is broken up into three sections: Top 10, Middle 31, and Bottom 10. All of the states in the South Central Region (New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana) fell in the Bottom 10.

AHRQ looked at more than 200 measures to make their ranking. And aside from just simply stating whether a state reached every benchmark or not, AHRQ provides several graphics that are useful for showing visually how health care looks in each state.

Because the amount of information available from the AHRQ is so vast and detailed, it would not be adequate to list the statistics in a blog post. Instead, you can find the links to data for each state below if you’re interested in learning more.

New Mexico

To find out more about the health care quality in your state, please visit

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September is National Preparedness Month

“Photo” by NASA is licensed under CC0.

WeatherSeptember is National Preparedness Month, so the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Ad Council have teamed up to encourage families to create emergency plans, just in case, through a series of PSAs.

One of the most important things to realize and plan for when it comes to emergencies, is knowing that it is likely that you will not be with your family when a disaster occurs. So if you’re not together, what should you do and where should you go to meet?

“Disasters don’t always occur when we are together with our family and friends, and so it is important to take a few minutes now to plan what you will do in the event you are separated,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in a FEMA press release.  “It only takes a few minutes to talk through the greatest risks that can affect where you live, work or go to school.  But by having that conversation or making a plan, families will have more confidence and be better prepared when the next event happens.”

National Preparedness Month is managed and sponsored by the Ready campaign in hopes of raising awareness for how to plan and prepare before a disaster, and how to react during and after one.

To learn more about National Preparedness Month, please visit “September is National Preparedness Month.”

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Vaping More for Flavor Than Nicotine in Teen Use

“No Vaping” by Mike Mozart
is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

No Vaping SignIn 2014, The Oxford Dictionaries gave the word “vape” the Word of the Year title. The use of e-cigarettes, also known as “vapes,” have been on the rise and were often wrongly recognized as a safer alternative to smoking. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently put several regulations into effect regarding e-cigarettes and are warning users that this is not a safer smoking alternative.

A recent study conducted by a team at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that out of the 15,000 students they surveyed, 3,800 of them had used an e-cigarette at some time. However, researchers also discovered something else: two thirds of the student users used an e-cigarette when a non-nicotine flavored ingredient was used. Using nicotine-flavored vapes came in a distant second.

“The findings suggest that efforts to reduce e-cigarette use among young people may fail if they focus on the dangers of nicotine because most teen users do not believe they are using nicotine, according to the researchers,” MedlinePlus reported.

To read more about the study, please visit “Many Teens ‘Vaping’ for Flavor, Not Nicotine.”

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Zip Code Plays a Large Factor in Life Expectancy

“Photo” by Redd Angelo is licensed under CC0.

Woman WalkingRecently, many news outlets (The New York Times, NPR, Albuquerque Journal, and others) have reported on the importance where you live plays in how long you live. Research has found it can play an even bigger role than genetics. Last week, the American Medical Association Wire shared the experience of Dr. Anthony Iton, senior vice president of healthy communities at the Community Endowment, when he moved to Baltimore for medical school at Johns Hopkins University years ago.

He was appalled at how run-down parts of the city were. He compared East Baltimore to Beirut, asking the upperclassman who was giving him a tour when the war happened there.

“In an ideal world … where you live shouldn’t predict how long you live,” Iton said, “but we do not live in an ideal world. What drives health is beyond just health behaviors and access to the doctor…. There’s a whole host of environmental and social determinants that are actually much more influential on our health trajectories, and we have no organized practice for dealing with them.”

Health Happens Here also released a video in April visually describing just how two zip codes can impact the life expectancy of two individuals. While focused on California, the video’s message rings true to many other areas within the U.S.

To learn more about how where you live determines how long you live, please visit “Death by ZIP code: When address matters more than genetics.”

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Mosquitoes in Miami Beach Carrying Zika

“South Beach, Miami, Florida” by wadester16
is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

 South Beach, Miami, Florida Officials have announced another area in Miami-Dade County, Fla. has mosquitoes which are spreading Zika locally—this time in the popular tourist destination of South Beach, an area of Miami Beach, Fla.

Health officials recently warned visitors and residents to avoid the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami-Dade County, as it was the first area they linked to local transmission of Zika through mosquitoes. This outbreak prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do something it had never done before—advise pregnant woman to avoid the area, marking the first time the CDC had ever advised people to avoid an area in the continental U.S. because of an infectious disease.

With the South Beach outbreak, CDC officials are cautioning the same thing, and advising South Beach visitors to wait at least eight weeks to get pregnant.

Health officials recently got the Wynwood outbreak under control and have cleared 17 blocks so far. And while health officials believe the Zika-carrying mosquitoes are only occupying a 1.5-mile strip of beach, they are worried they won’t be as easy to get rid of in South Beach. For one thing, the area’s high-rises pose a problem for aerial spraying, a method which they used in Wynwood. “In addition, it will be more difficult to convince people to wear long sleeves and pants in a part of the city where people go to spend time on the beach,” NPR reported.

To learn more about the new Zika outbreak, please visit: “New Zika Outbreak Hits Popular Tourist Destination of Miami Beach.”

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The Digital Shift of Libraries

“Photo” by Fabian Irsara is licensed under CC0.

Laptop KeyboardNational Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region – the name is a bit of a mouthful, and what is it exactly? The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is a network of libraries, information providers, public health agencies, community organizations and more, focused on improving public health by providing U.S. health officials and the U.S. public with equal access to health information.

Specific to the NN/LM SCR, our objectives are to assess, educate, increase access, and advocate. In order to carry out these objectives, NN/LM SCR has been striving to shy away from the traditional thought that a library is a brick and mortar facility and instead is something that can be accessed digitally, anywhere and anytime.

The Library Journal recently published an article about how the library world is shifting – most libraries are trying to add a digital arm if they don’t have one already. In the article, Rachel Fewell, central library administrator at the Denver Public Library, described two groups of people: those who use the library, and those who don’t even think about the library.

“Making libraries more visible on the web has two benefits,” reports the Library Journal. “Improving the service for the ones who are already committed to the library—they use search engines, too—and giving libraries the opportunity to reach those who never—or only sometimes—think about the library.”

Putting library materials online surely won’t hurt any library. If anything, it will make it more successful. It gives people who do use libraries the choice on how they prefer to use it, and it gives those people who wouldn’t physically visit a library the ability to use it from anywhere. Additionally, creating digital libraries is extremely beneficial to those who live in rural communities and may not have immediate access to a physical library.

Digital libraries are especially smart when it comes to increasing access to health information. While the public may not physically visit a library to gain knowledge on health issues affecting them, they are definitely searching the web and reading the news. The NLM has created extensive online databases and repositories available for consumers, clinicians and scientists.

To read more about the digital shift of libraries, please visit: “Making Libraries Visible on the Web.”

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Zika Virus and Blood Transfusions: What Can We Do?

“Blood Drive” by Homecoming at Illinois State
is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Blood DriveFlorida health officials recently confirmed that some mosquitos within the continental United States are carrying Zika virus, therefore making local transmission possible. If someone contracts Zika virus, their symptoms are mild and may not even warrant a visit to the doctor’s office; many times people won’t experience any symptoms at all.

Because the symptoms are so mild, it makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose a person with Zika virus without test results. So now consider this—if a person heads to their local blood drive or blood bank, how can the volunteers who draw the blood ensure a person isn’t infected? When there was a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013, 2.8 percent of blood donors tested positive for the virus.

In order to prevent the risk of donating contaminated blood, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that all blood banks in Miami-Dade County stop collecting blood immediately, as this is where local Zika transmission has occurred so far. The FDA has also released a set of recommendations for other blood banks to follow to decrease the risk of collecting Zika-infected blood. And finally, while not FDA-licensed, two tests have become available in April and June that allow blood to be tested for Zika.

However, the most effective and simple way to prevent the donation of contaminated blood is for those who have traveled to Zika-infected areas to wait to donate blood until they have been cleared by a doctor.

If you’d like to read more on what the CDC is doing to prevent blood donors with Zika from accidentally donating infected blood, please visit

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NN/LM SCR Introduces Our Health Professions Coordinator: Sarah Miles

Sarah Miles, Health Professions Coordinator The NN/LM SCR would like to introduce our newest member of the RML Team, Sarah Miles, who will serve as the Health Professions Coordinator for the South Central Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Sarah completed her Masters in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in early August 2016, and also has a Masters in East Asian Studies from Harvard Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences. While earning her MLIS, Sarah worked as a Research Services Assistant in the De Paul Library at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas, and as an Access Specialist for Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to starting her Masters with UIUC, she spent two and a half years teaching English as a foreign language to elementary and middle school students in Seoul, South Korea, with Chungdahm Learning and achieved the position of Assistant Faculty Manager at her location. In Korea, Sarah was also actively involved in curriculum development, staff training, and outreach with Chungdahm.

As Health Professions Coordinator, Sarah will be working closely with health professionals to develop outreach programs and services throughout the South Central Region. She will serve as the liaison in the areas of program planning, evidence based practice, health literacy, and NLM databases, and as the designated coordinator for the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Contact Sarah at or 817-735-2236.

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Louisiana Sees Record Flooding Over Weekend

“A Louisiana Welcome” by
Stuart Seeger is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Over the weekend, Louisiana experienced record-breaking flooding from heavy rain that has so far killed at least seven and displaced thousands. Roadways disappeared under water, houses flooded, and residents around the south of the state were forced to evacuate. Mike Steele, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness reported to The New York Times that the effects the flood had on residents, and the response of emergency responders were reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina.

President Barack Obama granted Louisiana’s request for a declaration of emergency Sunday evening, and first responders were working around the clock to ensure the safety of residents. Governor John Bel Edwards said Sunday that more than 20,000 people had been rescued, but any sort of “tally was already out of date,” according to The New York Times.

While most of southern Louisiana is prone to, and used to, heavy rain and at times, flooding, because this sort of downfall is unprecedented, Edwards said the National Weather Service can’t tell anyone what else you can expect or how else to prepare.

To read more about the floods in Louisiana, visit “Thousands Displaced in Storm-Drenched Louisiana.”

If you’d like to find out more about the effects flooding and coastal erosion have had on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, read our new SCR Regional Highlight series available on the SCR blog.

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