Pertussis Health Advisory

Please be aware that we’ve had a confirmed case of pertussis reported to us by Tarrant County Public Health. One of our young church members, age 14 attended church functions November 3 through November 10, 2019, including Sunday School. If you or any family members were in church on these dates, you/family members may have been exposed. Please read this information on pertussis and follow the recommendations to help stop its spread.

Pertussis, or “whooping cough,” is a highly contagious disease involving the respiratory tract, and it is caused by a bacterium found in the mouth, nose, and throat of an infected person. It can be a very serious disease, particularly for infants less than one year of age, and is easily spread by droplets in the air that form when a person talks, sneezes, or coughs.

Pertussis begins like a cold — with runny nose, sneezing, mild fever, and a cough that slowly gets worse after one to two weeks, when it begins to occur in strong coughing fits called “paroxysmal coughing.” This type of coughing may last for six or more weeks.

There is generally no fever when paroxysmal coughing begins, and between coughing spells the person often appears to be well. The cough is often worse at night and may be unrelieved by cough medicines. In young children, coughing fits are often followed by a whooping sound as they try to catch their breath.

After this type of coughing a person may have difficulty catching his breath, may vomit, or become blue in the face or around the lips. The coughing spells may be so intense that it is hard for babies to eat, drink, or breathe. Some babies may stop breathing (called apnea) and die. Adults, teens, and vaccinated children may have milder symptoms that mimic bronchitis or asthma.

Regarding Pertussis, Tarrant County Public Health recommends the following:

  • Persons with any of the above described symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider before returning to any group settings (work, school, daycare, church gatherings, etc.).
  • Persons diagnosed or suspected of having pertussis are to be excluded from group settings until after completion of 5 days of antibiotic
  • Review your/your child’s immunization records and catch up any that are due or past due.
  • Adolescents and adults should receive Tdap vaccine to booster their immunity and prevent spread of the disease to others.
  • Close contacts of a person with pertussis should receive antibiotics to prevent them from becoming ill regardless of immunization status.
  • Pregnant women should make their healthcare providers aware of their exposure risk.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Tarrant County Health at 817-321-4700 or online at

FSMM Partners with Moncrief Cancer Institute

FSMM Partners with Moncrief Cancer Institute to Offer Free Hep C Screenings

Later this summer, Moncrief Cancer Institute will bring life-saving Hepatitis C screening to our First Street Methodist Mission clients, courtesy of a $25,000 grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). “A church member who is on the Homeless Breakfast team and also works for Moncrief Cancer Institute, recommended that someone on the Moncrief team responsible for this project reach out to the Mission,” recalls Linda Murphy, FSMM Director.  “We met at the Mission and it was obvious that this was a service that would greatly benefit the guests of First Street Mission, so we set up the screening for the first available date!”

An estimated 2.5 million Americans are living with the hepatitis C virus and, because people can live with this virus for decades without symptoms, most of those who have this virus don’t even know they’re infected — and can unknowingly infect others.  A simple blood test is the only way to know if you have hepatitis C.

Left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and even liver cancer. In fact, Centers For Disease Control reports that the hepatitis C virus is now the leading cause of liver cancer, and  Texas maintains the nation’s second highest incidence rate for liver cancer.

Populations who are considered particularly vulnerable to the hepatitis C virus include “baby boomers “ — anyone born between 1945 and 1965 (they are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults) as well as those with lifestyle factors common to people who are unsheltered or living in poverty. (Read more about hepatitis C risk factors here ) Moncrief Cancer Institute provides free testing, which only takes a few minutes, and treatment for hepatitis C for those who qualify.

While there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, there are now very effective medications to treat and often cure it. According to the CDC, screening and treatment for hepatitis C significantly reduces the risk of liver cancer and death, and cures of hepatitis C are associated with a 75 percent reduced risk of liver cancer.

“We are so proud and excited to be able to bring this screening to our First Street Methodist Mission guests,” Linda adds. “In addition to providing for basic needs like food, clothing, and assistance with day-to-day necessities for people who are unsheltered, we actively seek opportunities to collaborate with other local agencies and nonprofits to provide services that have the potential to improve the health and well-being for this medically underserved and at-risk population.”

Moncrief Cancer Institute is a non-profit community-based early detection and support center in Fort Worth that houses UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center which provides chemotherapy, cancer imaging, and access to the latest clinical trials. Moncrief Cancer Institute offers an exceptional level of academic medical expertise, with services that include:

With its specially trained support services staff on hand to meet with patients and their families at any time, Moncrief Cancer Institute also offers classes, meetings, and appointments focused on specific issues patients and their families might be experiencing. This team includes specialists in cancer psychology, exercise, nutrition, social work, and genetic counselors.

This commitment to providing early detection and support services to everyone who needs them is reflected in Moncrief Cancer Institute’s partnerships with more than 50 hospitals and healthcare providers in more than 30 rural counties across North Texas.

Moncrief Cancer Institute’s partnership with UT Southwestern’s renowned Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center brings leading-edge treatment to Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth. One of only 68 nationally designated cancer centers in the country, UT Southwestern is home to many of the nation’s top cancer specialists.

Linda adds that just as First Street Methodist Mission brings this potentially life-saving screening to its clients, it also creates opportunity to remind our greater First Church community that If you or someone you know falls in to a population vulnerable to the hepatitis C virus, Moncrief Canter Institute offers this testing  to everyone and encourages this testing that is saving lives! Call 800.405.7739 to schedule an appointment.