In Brief - New Mexico News - Feb. 20, 2013

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Optic Staff and Wire

Woman missing in Rowe area

Search and rescue teams were called out to help look for a couple who got lost around the Rowe Mesa area after the car they were in got stuck, according to San Miguel Search and Rescue.
Niki Sebastian, the public information officer for the local search and rescue team, said Monday evening that the man was found and was being treated at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. The man’s girlfriend, however, had not been found, Sebastian said.
She said it’s unclear when the couple got lost, though search and rescue teams were called out at about 6 p.m. Sunday. About seven members of San Miguel Search and Rescue were called in at 8 a.m. Monday. She said there were also teams from other areas taking part.

Vaccines urged for mothers-to-be

SANTA FE — Health officials in New Mexico are recommending that all pregnant women get a vaccine to guard against the spread of whooping cough.
The recommendation on Monday by the New Mexico Department of Health is intended to prevent the spread of the disease to children who are vulnerable to whooping cough.
Eight hundred seventy-four whooping cough cases were reported to health officials in New Mexico in 2012.
That’s three times more cases than were reported in 2011.
New Mexico had two whooping cough-related deaths in 2012.
The New Mexico Department of Health recommends that all pregnant women receive the Tdap booster after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Health officials say the Tdap vaccine also protects against tetanus and diphtheria.

House OKs stiffer penalties

SANTA FE — A proposal advocated by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to increase penalties for human trafficking is heading to the Senate for consideration.
The measure would make it a first-degree felony for human trafficking if the victim was under the age of 16. Convictions could carry a basic sentence of 18 years in prison. That doubles the penalty because the crime is currently a lesser felony.
The proposal would triple the basic penalty — to nine years in prison — for human trafficking if the victim was 16 years or older.
The House unanimously approved the legislation on Friday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.
The governor said in a statement it’s a “common misperception that crimes of this nature occur overseas, but not right here in New Mexico.”