public health

Science & Health
6:28 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

DHH confirms four new cases of West Nile virus

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says four new cases of West Nile virus bring this year's total to 14.

It says the new cases include the year's third nervous system infection — the infection's most dangerous form. That patient is in St. Tammany Parish; earlier neuroinvasive cases were reported in Rapides and Vernon parishes.

The other new cases were in Bossier and East and West Baton Rouge parishes. They include one patient with flu-like West Nile fever and two people without symptoms, found in blood donor screening.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:39 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

FDA Approves First Drug To Prevent HIV Infection

Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco in May. Even before the Food and Drug Administration's approval, Sterman had prescribed Truvada for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 1:57 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has given the first OK for a drug to prevent HIV infection.

The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. It's been a mainstay in the treatment of HIV/AIDS for years, and as of today is an approved option for reducing the risk of HIV infection for people at high risk.

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West Nile Virus
7:46 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

State reports six more cases of West Nile Virus

State health regulators have confirmed six more human cases of West Nile Virus, bringing the year's total to 10, including two cases of the more serious neuroinvasive disease.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, in a news release Friday, said the new cases are from East Feliciana, Jefferson, Rapides, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.

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Medicaid Cuts
12:19 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

$859M in Medicaid cuts expected today

Health care providers and patients who rely on Louisiana's Medicaid program are expected to learn Friday how the Jindal administration plans to slash $859 million in the program that takes care of the poor, elderly and disabled.

The cuts are tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate.

The reductions will strip 11 percent of the funding from the $7.7 billion Medicaid budget that lawmakers passed for the fiscal year that began July 1.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:02 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Generic Drugs Make Dent In Global AIDS Pandemic

In the absence of a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, drug treatment has at least helped lower the pandemic's toll.

Since 2003, much of the treatment dispensed in hard-hit countries has come in the form of generic versions of previously expensive drugs. The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has paid for quite a bit of the medicine.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:09 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Staph Infections Tied To Misuse Of Drug Vials

Misuse of a medical vials can spread infections.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Ten people were hospitalized and one was found dead after contracting staph infections from injections received at health clinics in Delaware and Arizona in early spring, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infection clusters were described in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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AIDS: A Turning Point
2:06 am
Thu July 12, 2012

'Treatment As Prevention' Rises As Cry In HIV Fight

While Kenya Jackson (right) is on his thrice-weekly dialysis treatment, community health worker Greg Jules talks to him about taking his medication.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:21 am

AIDS researchers, policymakers and advocates are increasingly convinced that treating HIV is one of the best ways of preventing its spread.

The rallying cry is "treatment as prevention," and it's the overarching theme of this month's International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.

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Louisiana Healthcare
4:44 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Hospitals facing fewer dollars for uninsured care

Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision against expanding the state's Medicaid program under the federal health law, combined with a provision that shrinks uninsured care dollars, could leave Louisiana hospitals with far less money to care for those not on private insurance.

Hospital leaders say the situation could leave some LSU-run public hospitals and small rural hospitals teetering on the edge of closure and give them little way to recoup money they spend to care for uninsured patients.

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Budget Cuts
10:58 am
Wed July 11, 2012

State health secretary says cuts expected by Friday

Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says he expects to announce by Friday how he'll divvy up $859 million in cuts to Louisiana's Medicaid program.

The cut is tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate.

Greenstein didn't offer details Tuesday about what will be slashed. But hospitals, doctors and other health providers are bracing for cuts that could shrink the money they receive for taking care of Medicaid patients and the uninsured.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:21 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Will Medicaid Bring The Uninsured Out Of The Woodwork?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest state executive to say no to an expansion of Medicaid.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 3:54 pm

Ever since the Supreme Court decided last month that an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act should be optional, quite a few Republican governors have been vowing to take a pass.

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