Living in La
Porte, TX, one of the public health services my local government prides itself
is the protection and maintenance of clean drinking water as a part of the 6th
Essential Public Health Service—enforcing laws and regulations. The biggest
threats to safe drinking water are chemical, bacterial and hard metal
contamination. The Water Production division is responsible for ensuring safe
drinking water for a system that provides treated water to the coastal cities
of La Porte, Morgan’s Point, and Shoreacres. 1

The City of La
Porte water system consists of 231 miles of water mains with an average total
consumption of 32 million gallons per day.2 The system has regularly
been rated as a “Superior” Public Water System by the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality (TCEQ), most recently in 2016. The TCEQ assesses the
operations and construction of the over 6,000 public water systems in the state
of Texas. To earn the distinction of the “Superior” rating, a water system has
to meet the rigorous standards set forth by the TCEQ and go beyond the minimum
requirements for water quality and safety.3 Less than 5% of water
systems will receive this rating in any given year and only around 10% have
ever achieve in the state, according to TCEQ records. 4

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The nearby water
systems of Deep Park has also been rated as “Superior”3 and is
another city that lines the ship channel and is economically supported by
refinery work.  As a longtime resident of
this area I have always had the impression that because of these refineries
there is concern about air and water quality.   There appears to be a strong public health
and public relations initiatives to ensure and show that these are safe places
to live.  I do not know in how many other
cities residents would know their water system ratings, but it is almost common
knowledge here.




The disease I
have chosen that has had a historical and significant public health implication
is tuberculosis (TB). To limit the scope of the topic I will be examining the
disease’s activity within the United States. The bacteria (Mycobacterium
tuberculosis) is the underlying cause of TB and typically affects the
lungs. This disease is preventable, treatable and curable.1 TB is transferred
from person to person through air particles. 
Someone infected with TB, while contagious, will have the bacteria in
their lungs and when they sneeze or cough, the bacteria is released into the
air.  Another individual needs only to
inhale a few particles to become infected themselves.2 Remarkably
nearly a third of the global population is infected with TB but in its latent
stage so they are not yet ill and cannot transfer the disease.  Most will not develop the disease, but those
with weak or compromised immune systems are at risk of developing active TB.3

current status in 2016, 9,272 case of TB reported within the United States, a 3% decline from the year before.  The four largest states, California, Texas,
Florida and New York, had the highest number of cases and a total of a little over
half of all cases reported.1 
The main institutions working to alleviate the burden of TB is the CDC
and local health departments.  They surveil
the disease across the country and work together to create and distribute
information regarding TB prevention and control.2


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