public health

A 4-year-old child who died of a rare brain infection in early August has led Louisiana health officials to discover that the cause is lurking in the water pipes of St. Bernard Parish, southeast of New Orleans.

DPDx and GS Visvesvara / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal and state health regulators have confirmed that a child, who died from encephalitis caused by a rare amoeba, contracted the illness while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish.

Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals said Thursday that while water samples taken from the home tested positive for the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, initial tests of the parish water system are negative for it.

Trust for America's Health

A national study shows Louisiana is the most obese state in the country. Findings show the cause is more complicated than simply blaming the rich cooking.

Louisiana is tied for the fattest state in the nation, with an adult obesity rate of almost 35 percent. Mississippi falls behind by a fraction of a percentage, and Arkansas is very close behind. (Arkansas was the only state this year where obesity had a statistical increase.)

In the past three years combined, St. Tammany Parish has had 13 homicides. During that same period of time, more than 100 residents committed suicide. Rebecca Thees with Volunteers of America has been on the front line of the parish’s efforts to curb this growing crisis.

More than a thousand people are expected to get free medical care today from a non-profit setting up at the Convention Center. It was moved up earlier than usual this year because of the Essence Festival.

More than a thousand people without health insurance are expected to attend a free one-day clinic in New Orleans next week. It’s the fourth visit to the city by a national nonprofit since Hurricane Katrina.

A new report finds that Louisiana has the second worst dentist shortage in the nation. Because of this, many residents are not getting adequate dental care, especially children and people who live in rural areas.

The Pew Charitable Trusts examined the lack of access to dental care nationwide. The findings revealed a scarcity of dentists who participate in Medicaid. In Louisiana, the report comes as the state Department of Health and Hospitals is slashing reimbursement rates paid to dentists through the Medicaid program with the July 1start of the new fiscal year.

It’s been almost a year since the Arc of Acadiana was awarded the state contract to privatize a Bossier City residential facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A total of 390 employees of the former Northwest Supports and Services Center were invited to reapply for jobs. For director April Lee, it was not just about keeping her job. As the administrator, her house on the 100-acre grounds was on the line, too.

An organization formed to help people fleeing the Vietnam War establish themselves in the U.S. is now helping a Gulf Coast community deal with the impact of much more recent history.

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