public health

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will be signing an ordinance today that will ban smoking in city bars and casinos. reports his signature means the ban will take effect in 90 days.

The law also includes electronic cigarettes. The City Council had been asked by several speakers at public hearings not to treat the vapor cigarettes the same as regular tobacco. But others argued there isn’t enough information yet about the health effects of e-cigarettes.

Baton Rouge is embarking on a new collaborative to tackle the problem of childhood obesity.

Over the next six months, the capitol city is one of seven cities joining forces through the National League of Cities to better understand obesity-related health disparities among children.

Deutschlandreform / Wikimedia

In a move to protect the health of musicians and late-night workers, the New Orleans City Council has voted unanimously to ban smoking in bars and gambling halls.

New Orleans had been one of the last major American cities to allow people to smoke tobacco in bars. Smoking at indoor restaurants is no longer permitted. The new ban is expected to take effect in three months.

The ban was tweaked before being approved. For instance, New Orleans police won't have to enforce the ordinance and smoking will be allowed within 5 feet of bar entrances — not 25 feet away.

A town hall meeting lasting more than two hours at New Orleans City Hall Wednesday night put smokers and non-smokers at odds over a proposed ban on lighting up citywide. Much of the debate centered on businesses having a right to opt out, versus second-hand smoking effects on employees.

Arkansas and Louisiana are ill-prepared to detect, diagnose and respond to threats like Ebola and outbreaks of infectious diseases, according to a report released Thursday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report, “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases,” found that Arkansas scored the lowest of all, two out of 10 on key indicators related to preventing and responding to antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

Louisiana health officials say residents are being hit hard by the flu.

And a vaccine might not be that effective.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the designation of “widespread” usually doesn’t happen until January or February.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Louisiana and Alaska as the only states with “widespread” outbreaks of influenza for the week ending November 22.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is reporting an uptick in influenza reports.

Thousands of scientists from around the world jammed into a New Orleans hotel ballroom to hear remarks by former Microsoft President Bill Gates about medical advances his foundation is funding to stop contagious diseases. Some who could not attend were also cheered by their colleagues.

As the nation grapples with containing the Ebola virus, thousands of medical experts are traveling to New Orleans next week to discuss the response. Louisiana health officials are asking anyone who has recently traveled to a region affected by Ebola to cancel their visit.

A New Orleans man is being monitored for Ebola.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta notified state health officials about the man, who just returned from a country affected by Ebola.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that state officials say the man has no symptoms, but will be staying home through November 5.

He is being observed under the same conditions as an LSU employee who returned to Baton Rouge earlier this month, after training Liberian police officers on Ebola safety procedures.

Infectious disease experts at LSU Health Shreveport say the hospital is carrying out practice drills on how to care for an Ebola patient should the situation arise at University Health. Physicians, nurses and medical staff continue to practice using protective gear, according to Dr. John Vanchiere.