public health

News reports over the weekend about rape victims in New Orleans being charged for some medical treatments are prompting a leading women’s rights organization to push for change. The group is calling on state health officials to change the rules.

An ailing sailor taken from a vessel docked in New Orleans that stopped in West Africa has been diagnosed with malaria.

The Centers for Disease Control said the ship had stopped in a region where a few cases of the Ebola virus have been reported.

The crew member was taken to West Jefferson Medical Center for treatment. is reporting that one of the ship's crew members fell ill and disembarked in the Bahamas two days ago.

The CDC says he was diagnosed with malaria and later died. An Ebola test reportedly came back negative.

A new law that could close every abortion clinic in south Louisiana goes into effect in less than three weeks, on Sept. 1. Clinics in Baton Rouge and New Orleans are fighting to stay open. 

Adam Norris, the Director of Communications at the University of New Orleans, tells us UNO became a tobacco-free campus on Aug. 1.

The state legislature mandated all public colleges and universities become smoke-free on that date, but UNO took it a step further and banned all types of tobacco. Norris says there are smoking-cessation resources in place for faculty, staff and students.

U.S. Public Health Service / National Library of Medicine

At a time when the Ebola virus is causing panic throughout the world, and has prompted dire warnings from international public health officials, we're revisiting a plague of old: The Plague.

For this month's "Cityscapes" piece on, Tulane University's Richard Campanella focused on one of New Orleans's own epidemics. This month marks the 100th anniversary of the bubonic plague outbreak in New Orleans.

Sergey Uryadnikov /

A Tulane expert in viral epidemics raging in West Africa says it’s time to expand experimental treatments. Some are showing promise.

The sponsor of a Louisiana law restricting abortions doesn’t believe it’s in jeopardy, despite a federal appeals court striking down a similar law in Mississippi.

The legislation requires doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 yesterday to overturn Mississippi's 2012 law, which would have closed the state's only abortion clinic.

The judges said every state must guarantee the right to an abortion.

Malorie Marshall / WWNO

Smoking in bars might become a thing of the past in New Orleans. City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and other organizations recently brought a smoke-free week to the city. That’s meant to raise support for a ban on smoking in bars.

New Orleans is known as a place where people like to unwind. Go-cups, ice-cold daiquiris, rich food, music and good times.

One aspect of this experience might be about to change.

James Jordan / Flickr

Louisiana health officials say a Caddo Parish resident has died from the West Nile virus.

The individual who died was between 60 and 74 years old. Martha Whyte, public health chief in northwest Louisiana, told the Shreveport Times she could not provide other information, citing confidentiality rules.

A drive kicks off this week to ban smoking in New Orleans bars.

Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell is backing the idea. She says the change would benefit local businesses.

“This has been going on across the country for over a decade now," she said. "And so we have real facts that it is not a negative impact on our businesses. Actually revenues increase. And it’s cheaper to maintain a bar or lounge that is smoke free than one that is not.”  

Cantrell says the effort will begin at various venues this week that are now voluntarily smoke-free.