Got Leadership? Get it from the link below…
Got Leadership? Get it from the link below…
Take a look at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s first Dinner Tonight Lesson Series in 2016!
Stay tuned for future Dinner Tonight lesson series in the upcoming months to provide workshops/recipes to maintain a healthy lifestyle!
Click on or copy and paste the following link to your browser.
Hey there! Yes, you. Do you have questions or need some assistance with your small farm in Dallas County? Well, click on or copy and paste the link below and find out what’s going on in and around Dallas County.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (Dallas County), Methodist Health Systems (Dallas) and Prairie View A&M University/Cooperative Extension Service (Dallas) are hosting Garden 2 Table II, an educational expo for the entire family and community scheduled for Saturday, March 5, 2015 at Methodist Health Systems (Dallas), 1441 N. Beckley Avenue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This educational workshop series will focus on community based gardening in urban environments, food preparation of fresh produce and small animal production. Dallas County residents will receive research based information on Earth Kind® and WaterWise landscapes, food safety skills, and expand their knowledge on bees, goats and chickens in the city. In addition, the Kid’s Gardening Club House will host various activities for kids ages 5 to 13. Youth will learn about plants, animals, and an added attraction “Cooking for Kids”! To learn more about this program and other educational events hosted by Methodist Health Systems and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension go to http://dallas-tx.tamu.edu or call 214-904-3050.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Not mentioned in the news stories is that there is a reason that Chagas is much less common in the U.S. compared to Latin America. For reasons that are not fully agreed-upon, human transmission is not nearly as high in the U.S. The most likely reason is that we have different species of Triatoma bugs acting as vectors of the pathogen here. Some have speculated that differences in vector infection rates is related to the fact that Trypanosoma infections occur not through the bug mouthparts (like mosquito transmitted viruses), but via their feces. Feces deposited near a bite must subsequently be rubbed into the wound to cause infection. It could be that our US species have a slightly different biting or defecation behavior, reducing the risk of bug feces being rubbed into the wound.
You may notice that health officials interviewed in the TV reports seem to downplay the significance of Chagas in Texas. The reason is that there is not enough data to verify that Chagas is a common problem in Texas. Health professionals rightly don’t want to worry folks until more is known about the extent of the problem. Yes, dog infection rates are very high where the bugs are common; but researchers think this is because dogs acquire the pathogen orally, when they eat bugs. It does not mean that people are at equal risk in areas where the bugs are common.
TV reports also fail to distinguish the difference in risk of acquiring Chagas in north Texas compared to other areas. Highest risks for both dogs and people appear to occur in southern parts of the state. Dr. Sarah Hamer of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M, along with researchers with the military, Baylor University, and the Department of State Health Services are actively studying Chagas disease, and statewide distributions of the different species of kissing bugs—essential information for health officials. We will undoubtedly know more about this problem within the next few years.
RESPONDING TO THE PUBLIC
You can expect to receive calls about kissing bugs from the public as local TV stations and newspapers pick up the Dallas reporting. If you receive inquiries about these bugs, the first thing is to make sure the client really has a kissing bug. The chance of encountering kissing bugs outside right now is relatively low. Kissing bugs are not seen very often by the general public because they come out at night. Additionally, they are warm season insects and will not be very active now because of the cold weather.
Even when the season is right, there are several bugs that people commonly mistake for kissing bugs. In fact, the labs that handle kissing bug samples are overwhelmed right now with these non-kissing bugs as a result of the recent news stories. For these reasons I just posted a guide to kissing bug ID at http://citybugs.tamu.edu/2015/12/01/kissing-bug-identification-requires-closer-look/
If after studying the descriptions and pictures, if you or your client still think you have a kissing bug sample, there are two labs that are interested in testing these insects. If the bug is not known to have bitten any one, then go to this Texas A&M Center for Veterinary Medicine Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease website. http://kissingbug.tamu.edu/contact/ The online contact form should be filled out and (preferably) a photo of the specimen submitted, then the A&M team will respond via email with information on how to send in a bug for testing.
If the bug is known to have bitten a pet or person, it should be sent to DSHS according to instructions at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/health/zoonosis/Triatominae/
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more general information about kissing bugs, see my fact sheet at http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/biting-stinging/others/ent-3008/ And, Dr. Sonja Swiger is recording a nEXT conversation about kissing bugs and Chagas disease on Dec 3. The session should be available shortly on http://Agrilife.org/next
Please let me or Dr. Swiger know if you have any further questions.
Michael E. Merchant, PhD, BCE
Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
17360 Coit Rd | Dallas, TX 75252-6599
972-952-9204 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog for professionals: http://insectsinthecity.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter: @mikemerchant
Wishing you health and happiness this holiday season!
Healthy Eating for the Holidays
The holidays are a great time for celebrating. With a little thought and planning, you can enjoy all they have to offer while keeping nutrition and wellness in mind.
Bring a healthy dish to holiday gatherings.
The party host will be grateful for the help and guests will appreciate a healthier menu option.
Make fruits and vegetables the star.
Make fruits and vegetables the center of attention at holiday meals and fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Avoid sugary drinks.
Choose water and unsweetened drinks like tea instead of sugary drinks such as eggnog or cider. Sugary drinks are full of unnecessary extra calories.
You can reduce extra calories without sacrificing taste by swapping ingredients in your favorite family recipes.
Choose indulgences wisely.
When you choose to indulge, choose foods that are unique and special to the season. Don’t waste calories on store-bought cookies or foods you can have any time of year.
Get up and get active.
When’s the last time you built a snowman? Bundle up and spend a little time outside playing. Weather not cooperating? Play a fun, family game indoors like charades or activity bingo!
The recalled “Organic Steel Cut Oats & Chia with Flax And Rye Flakes” was distributed on a limited basis in Sam’s Club retail stores located in AK, CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NH, OH, PA and TX.
This recall affects 355,000 cans and is limited to the United States.
Julie Prouse, RS
Extension Assistant – FPM
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be awarding over $8 million in grants to help school nutrition professionals better prepare healthy meals for their students. Approximately $2.6 million dollars in grants will support implementation of new national professional standards for all school nutrition employees who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and $5.6 million will go to help states expand and enhance food service training programs and provide nutrition education in school, child care, and summer meal settings.
“For the past three years, kids have eaten healthier breakfasts, lunches and snacks at school thanks to the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which made the first meaningful improvements to the nutrition of foods and beverages served in cafeterias and sold in vending machines in 30 years. Nearly all schools are successfully meeting the standards, and these grants part of our ongoing commitment to give states and schools the additional resources they need,” said Vilsack. “Parents, teachers, principals, and school nutrition professionals want the best for their children. Together we can make sure we’re giving our kids the healthy start in life they deserve.”
The grants announced today add to the large number of resources that USDA provides to help schools serve healthier food options that meet updated nutrition standards, including technical assistance, educational materials, and additional reimbursements. More than 95 percent of schools report that they are successfully meeting those nutrition standards, which were based on recommendations from pediatricians and other child health experts at the Institute of Medicine.
In February, USDA announced national professional standards for school nutrition employees that went into effect on July 1, 2015. These standards, which vary according to position and job requirements, ensure that school nutrition professionals have the training and skills they need to plan, prepare, purchase, and promote healthy meals. In addition to several built-in flexibilities intended to facilitate the first year of implementation and address the challenges faced by smaller school districts, USDA is providing a total of $2.6 million to 19 state agencies to develop and enhance existing trainings within their state that will allow school nutrition professionals to meet these standards. The Professional Standards Training Grants promote training in nutrition; operations; administration; and communications and marketing.
In addition, 19 states received a 2015 Team Nutrition Training Grant of up to $350,000 – $5.6 million in total – to support trainings that focus on encouraging healthy eating. Those efforts could include:
Grants activities must be sustainable and achieve measurable outcomes. For example, the Oregon Department of Education will use the grant funds to hold 10 Smarter Lunchroom workshops on strategies for arranging the lunchroom that promote healthy choices. As a result, at least 120 school food authorities and child nutrition program sponsors will receive training and follow-up assistance. A summary of previous years’ grant activities by state can be found at the Team Nutrition Training Grants website.
The Team Nutrition Training Grants are awarded as part of USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative, which provides resources, training, and nutrition education lessons for schools and child care providers. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Team Nutrition initiative. In that time, Team Nutrition has provided nearly $90 million in grant funds to state agencies that implement USDA Child Nutrition Programs.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers America’s nutrition assistance programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).