Health

San Antonio resident Candace Stark had never heard of Chagas Disease until she was told she had it.

“About July 2013, I went to donate blood. About six months later I got a letter with the lab report showing I had the antibodies,” she said.

The next problem for Candace was finding a doctor who knew how to deal with Chagas.

“The first one didn’t know much about it himself and sent me to a second one, and he was having to read up on it out of the books,” she said.

Doctors are now playing catch up.

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Middle-aged white Americans undoubtedly is one of the most fortunate demographics in the world. But according to Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case, this group is actually experiencing a surprising increase in mortality rates.

Tricia Schwennesen / Texas Public Radio

Millions of families in the U.S. have a hard time accessing healthy foods, especially low-income households. One San Antonio program is hoping to help get more fresh produce into home-cooked meals. 

At the second produce market of the year for Pre-K 4 SA, 5-year-old Robin Torres is begging her grandma for a bag of Brussels sprouts. "Vegetables make you feel better and healthy," Torres says. 

This early education program serves mostly families that qualify for free-lunch programs, or food stamps. Pre-K 4 SA serves 1,700 students at four centers across San Antonio.

National Institute of Health

Each year about 3,500 babies inexplicably die of SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.   Texas’ infant death rate is higher than the national average.  Bexar County has the highest rate in the state.

While some infant deaths can be prevented, many families lack knowledge or resources.

Bexar County hospitals are working to improve education, while some local leaders are raising money for more research.

The cause of death listed on Rex Neal Van de Putte’s death certificate,  reads “unknown.” He lived to be five months old.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Dr. John Hellerstedt will be the next commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, state officials announced Monday.

Hellerstedt is the current chief medical officer of the Seton Family of Hospitals in Central Texas. He is a former medical director for the Medicaid CHIP Division at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, according to his online bio.

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