Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  Announcements, Community

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Editor’s Note: The following message was sent via email from Jose E. Campo Maldonado MD, MSCI, FACP, director of Infectious Surveillance at UT Health RGV; and Michael R. Dobbs, MD, MHCM, chief medical officer at UT Health RGV, on Feb. 11, 2020.

As an update to our previous January 24th message, we continue to monitor both the flu and the 2019-nCoV (novel Coronavirus) for any potential impact to our UTRGV community and continue to coordinate with local and state health authorities.  

Flu season update:

We would like to remind the UTRGV community that we are in “flu season” and Texas is currently experiencing higher than normal influenza-like illness activities and symptoms.

“The Flu” is a contagious illness caused by a virus that can infect your nose, throat and even your lungs and can spread very easily through tiny droplets when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. This virus can change from one year to the next and getting the flu vaccine every year can prevent you and your loved ones from getting the flu and its associated complications, including severe respiratory and cardiac illnesses.

In addition to the vaccine, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following tips to prevent spread of the flu: Sourcehttps://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 6. Practice other good health habits.

Novel Coronavirus update:

At the time of this writing there are no confirmed cases in the state of Texas. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.

At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS coronaviruses.

If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and you have traveled to China, been exposed to a sick traveler from China, or been exposed to a person with 2019-nCoV infection in the last 14 days, you should contact your healthcare provider. Make sure to call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency department to prevent any potential spread.

See the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.