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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, April 3, 2003

Machuca to be deployed to Middle East

Specialist Steve R. Machuca, who has been serving in the U.S. Army, First Cavalry Division, for the past four years, will be deployed to the Middle East in May.

Specialist Machuca is a mechanic in the Army and is currently stationed in Fort Hood.

He is the son of Timio and Juana Machuca of Pecos.

Machuca has been stationed in Fort Hood in 2000; Korea in 2001 and has been stationed in Fort Hood since April 2002.

Binational project offers hope for controlling tuberculosis

It's a new effort health experts hope will stem the tide of tuberculosis (TB), especially drug-resistant TB.

The Texas Department of Health (TDH), the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pan American Health Organization and Prevention and (CDC), the Pan American Health Organization and the U.S. ­Mexico Border Health Commission are working together on a two-year pilot project to track and treat migrants with TB as they travel from Mexico to Texas and on north and back again. "That's great for migrants, but why should anyone else be interested in this project?" Asked Charles Wallace, director of the state health department's tuberculosis elimination division. "Because TB is airborne and anyone can get it. It is simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. TB is an equal-opportunity disease."

From 1990 to 2002, there were 26,844 TB cases reported in Texas. In 2002, 1,550 cases were reported ­ an almost 6 percent drop from the number reported in 2001. "While we're glad that rates have declined, this is not a disease that's going away easily or quickly. We can't be complacent in our efforts because rates of TB tend to fluctuate, "Wallace said. "I call this the roller-coaster effect."

It's a young, mobile population that most often suffers from TB. "There is a lot of back-and-forth travel between Texas and Mexico and between California and Texas. People have jobs on one side of the border and live on the other side. They have family on both sides of the border. It's that mobility that has us concerned," explained Wallace. "TB is spread through the air. With so many people who have the disease traveling through Mexico, Texas and around the United States, the opportunity for spreading this disease increases."

The problem with a transitory population is that people start treatment and don't complete it. This gives the bacteria the opportunity to strengthen and come back in a more virulent form that can become drug resistant, making it more expensive and time consuming to cure.

That's where the pilot project comes in. Anyone with the disease who travels between Texas and Mexico can be registered in the TB binational project's data base and will receive a card with an identification number. "This card will serve as a tool for referring patients between both countries to ensure completion of therapy," Wallace said. "When patients leave the country for the United States or Mexico, they will be instructed where they obtain health care to complete their TB treatment, no matter where they are living at the time. The goal is to make sure that those who have TB receive adequate and complete treatment."

The pilot will be held in two border areas: El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico/Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, and San Diego, California/ Tijuana, Baja California. Four interior Mexican states are also pilot sites: Michoacan, Jalisco, Veracruz and Oaxaca.

"We're expecting 10,000 cards to be distributed in the next two years on both sides of the border," said Wallace.

After the two years is completed, CDC will evaluate the project. If the project is successful, it will be continued and expanded all along the Texas-Mexico border. "This will make a big difference in how well we track and control TB in this country," Wallace said. "We hope this new effort will bring us closer to a day when fewer and fewer people suffer from tuberculosis."

Garage sale planned

A garage sale will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, April 5, at 1638 Cowan Street.

The event is sponsored by the North Temple Baptist Church Acteens group. Proceeds will benefit the Annie Armstrong Easter offering.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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