public health

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.

To protect children against whooping cough, doctors recommend five shots of vaccine before they turn 7.

But what happens after that? How long does the protection last?

UPDATE: 11:37 a.m. As expected, the New York Board of Health passed a rule banning sugary drinks like soda in sizes 16 oz. or larger at restaurants, concession stands and other eateries in an effort to combat obesity today. The ban is expected to take effect in March, but according to the Wall Street Journal, opponents are already considering a legal challenge to prevent that. It passed 8-0.

The numbers for West Nile virus cases continue to rise, up 35 percent in the last week. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident the nation has turned the corner on its worst-ever epidemic of West Nile virus disease.

Louisiana's 31 latest West Nile infections included one death, bringing Louisiana's total this year to 176 reported infections and 10 deaths from the virus.

State health officials say the latest cases are unrelated to Hurricane Isaac because it takes weeks for an infection to be reported. There also was a delay in reporting because the storm closed health care facilities and pushed public health laboratory staff into hurricane response activities.