Bernalillo mayor Patricia Chávez
accepts a check to help the Sandoval County Health Commons Family
Support program in Bernalillo. (lto r) Patsy Nelson, Deputy Director,
Public Health Division, New Mexico Department of Health; Patricia
A. Chávez, Mayor, Town of Bernalillo; Keith Pullman, Plant
Manager, General Mills, Albuquerque; Norm Segel, Executive Director,
Abrazos Family Services; Mary Meyer, Nutrition Program Manager,
New Mexico WIC Program; Nicola Baptiste, Family Support Program,
Sandoval Health Commons receives youth nutrition
and fitness grant
This past summer, Abrazos Family Support Services
received a $10,000 Champions for Healthy Kids grant from the General
Mills Foundation for the Sandoval County Health Commons Family Support
The Abrazos Family Support Services program is designed
to provide hands-on learning for WIC families. The program began
targeting Sandoval County WIC and Health Commons recipients and
involves hands-on activities like cooking and community gardening.
Studies demonstrate that a child’s diet and level of activity
affects his or her school performance, mental and emotional well-being,
and long-term physical health.
Abrazos Family Support Services has served families
and children in Sandoval County since 1979, the organization has
provided education, prevention and early intervention services to
more than 5,000 individuals.
The Sandoval Health Commons is a private-public partnership
with many community organizations including Abrazos, NM DOH Public
Health, WIC and Sandoval County, providing a family centered holistic
approach to meeting families’ needs in Sandoval county.
Bingaman calls on feds to work with
state to prevent plague deaths
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),
seven cases of plague have been reported in New Mexico this year.
Two resulted in fatalities. This is the largest number of cases
reported in the state in a single year since 1998, and more than
three times the average rate since 2000.
In the United States nearly all fatal plague cases
are associated with delays in diagnosis and treatment. In its early
stages, plague is treatable with appropriate antibiotics.
In a letter to officials at the CDC, Senator Jeff
Bingaman said it is vital that the federal agency work with the
New Mexico Department of Health to ensure cases are diagnosed and
treated in a timely manner.
He explained, “While the New Mexico Department
of Health and CDC have worked together successfully on past human
cases, I would ask that the two again work closely and commit necessary
resources and assistance to the state to protect against fatalities.
The past reduction in the number of cases may have had the paradoxical
result of making the public, some health-care providers, and health
insurers unaware of the symptoms of the plague and the need to initiate
immediate antibiotic treatment without delay of laboratory confirmation.”
According to the New Mexico Department of Health,
in the two recent fatal cases medical care was not sought until
the illness had progressed to the point that even timely diagnosis
and appropriate therapy could not save the patients. Bingaman requested
that CDC develop appropriate educational public service announcements
and the funding to broadcast them on local television and radio
stations to increase knowledge and change behaviors.
Millions of people in Europe died from plague in the
Middle Ages, when human homes and places of work were inhabited
by flea-infested rats.
Wild rodents in certain areas around the world are
infected with plague. Outbreaks are usually associated with infected
rats and rat fleas that live in the home. In the United States,
the last urban plague epidemic occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-25.
Since then, human plague in the United States has occurred as mostly
scattered cases in rural areas (an average of ten to fifteen persons
each year). Globally, the World Health Organization reports one
thousand to three thousand cases of plague every year. In North
America, plague is found in certain animals and their fleas, from
the Pacific Coast to the Great Plains, and from southwestern Canada
The typical sign of the most common form of human
plague is a swollen and very tender lymph gland, accompanied by
pain. The swollen gland is called a "bubo" (hence the
term “bubonic plague"). Bubonic plague should be suspected
when a person develops a swollen gland, fever, chills, headache,
and extreme exhaustion, and has a history of possible exposure to
infected rodents, rabbits, or fleas. A person usually becomes ill
with bubonic plague two to six days after being infected. When bubonic
plague is left untreated, plague bacteria invade the bloodstream.
When they multiply in the bloodstream, they spread rapidly throughout
the body and cause a severe and often fatal condition. About 14
percent (one in seven) of all plague cases in the United States
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/NCIDOD/DVBID/plague.