public health

Louisiana's Office of Public Health is going statewide with a plan that officials say cut past-due restaurant and retail food inspections by at least one-third during a nine-parish pilot that began in February.

Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane said Thursday that he's making other changes to fix problems noted in a highly critical state audit released last month.

The audit said his office gave permits to restaurants that failed to correct violations and didn't meet its own standards — such as inspecting restaurants four times a year.

A groundbreaking will be held at 2 p.m., marking the start of a new full-service hospital for New Orleans East. It’s a major step forward in Hurricane Katrina recovery.

The deadline is approaching this week for governors who opted out of provisions of the Affordable Care Act to change their minds. Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is refusing to set up a state-run health insurance exchange for people who can’t afford plans in the current market.

Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is turning up the pressure on Jindal. She wants the state to establish a system under the new guidelines instead of having the federal government impose general standards.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is making another push to get people who worked on the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil disaster cleanup to enroll in a long-term health study.

Dr. Dale Sandler, chief of the agency's epidemiology branch, said Tuesday that more than 29,000 people have enrolled so far. But, she says, the goal is to get 35,000 to 40,000 people signed up before enrollment in the study ends Dec. 31.

The Advocate reports enrollment started March 2011.

A federal judge in New Orleans has signed off on a $37.5 million settlement involving companies that provided trailers to thousands left homeless from Gulf Coast hurricanes seven years ago. Some residents claim the trailers contained chemicals that made them sick.

State health officials say in the past week one more person has died from the West Nile virus in Louisiana and the number of infections has risen to 251 for the year with 36 new cases reported.

The death toll from the virus so far this year stands at 11.

Louisiana's health department says the state is seeing its highest number of West Nile cases in years.

The Affordable Care Act survived a near-death experience at the Supreme Court earlier this year. And the overhaul law's fate again hangs in the balance come Election Day. Mitt Romney has vowed to work for its repeal, if he's elected president.

Meanwhile, the law continues to take its hits.

The 'Facebook Effect' On Organ Donation

Sep 20, 2012

Facebook is taking its campaign to boost organ donations to Canada and Mexico this week, four months after its premiere.

The feature allows Facebook users to tell their friends and family that they're registered organ donors. It also directs people who aren't signed up as organ donors to the official registries where they live.

The number of West Nile virus infections in Louisiana has reached 215, with 39 new cases reported this past week.

No new deaths were added in the latest report. The death toll from the virus so far this year stands at 10.

Louisiana's health department says the state is experiencing its highest number of West Nile cases in years. And Hurricane Isaac is getting some of the blame. The storm left behind a lot of standing water, providing breeding areas for mosquitoes.

Humans are infected when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes.

There's no ready euphemism for this, so be warned.

The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously today in favor of a new regulation that would require parents of young boys who undergo ritual circumcisions involving "direct oral suction" to sign a consent form first.

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