Louisiana Department of Health

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West Nile virus cases in Louisiana are way down from a year ago but the state epidemiologist says people statewide still need to protect themselves against mosquitoes.

Knowing where people have become ill or where the virus has been found in mosquito pools can give people a false sense of security because West Nile is statewide, Dr. Raoult Ratard said Thursday.

"People are insisting, 'It's not in my parish, it's next door.' But that means nothing," Ratard said. "Next week it may be in your parish. The risk is there."

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Recent testing of waters from Lake Pontchartrain shows a toxin produced by cyanobacteria, sometimes referred to as blue-green algae, is below the limit recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the protection of swimmers.

In June, health officials warned swimmers and other users of Lake Pontchartrain that toxins associated with the algal bloom can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, skin irritation and/or breathing problems. Today, measurements of this toxin are within acceptable limits.

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Health and community organizations around the state will join with the Louisiana Department of Health to shed light on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Louisiana as part of NOLA HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day. Events will be held from November 30 through December 1 throughout the state to make an effort to remove the stigma surrounding these diseases and to slow the epidemic in Louisiana by sharing education about resources for testing and treatment. 

The Louisiana Department of Health announced the state is among 10 states chosen as recipients of grants from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The grant will allow LDH to further develop new payment methodologies for companies that provide home and community-based services.

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In spite of several initiatives over the past six years to prevent early births, defined as a birth that takes place more than three weeks before a due date, a recent report by the March of Dimes shows more work is needed in Louisiana.

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Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health learned that the contracted operator for the Clayton water system in Concordia Parish is no longer operating the water system because the operator has not been paid by the town.

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The Louisiana Department of Health recently released its Voluntary Non-Opioid Directive Form as a new tactic in the fight against opioid abuse.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Health officials found no significant lead levels in the drinking water of a dozen of Louisiana's older public schools.

The Advocate reports some of the tests found some lead, but the results were below the 15 parts per billion that would've initiated action by state authorities.

Louisiana's health officer, Dr. Jimmy Guidry, cautioned that a dozen test results aren't enough to make sweeping statements. Guidry says school systems should test their own water.

Bats infest LaSalle Parish school

Sep 20, 2018

Furry flying mammals have caused the closure of an area school. An infestation of bats has caused the closure of Lasalle Parish Elementary School. The Louisiana Department of Health closed the Olla school on Monday.

LDH says the shutdown is because bats carry rabies and the bat guano can harbor disease. Bats have to be handled carefully. They are a protected species, it is illegal to kill them.

The school will reopen as soon as the bats are removed and the droppings are cleaned up. If the process takes too long, classes will be moved. 

The final act of this year’s special session trilogy is less than a week away, with the administration and many legislators scrambling to find some extra cash for programs like TOPS, which is facing a 30 percent cut. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says the Department of Health is one place the state should look if it wants to plug the budget gaps.

 

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