Louisiana DHH Releases Oil Spill-Related Exposure Information

Louisiana DHH Releases Oil Spill-Related Exposure Information
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 8:55am

BATON ROUGE (July 12, 2010) - Two hundred and twenty-seven oil spill exposure-related cases have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to date, according to its sixth surveillance report released today. One hundred and ninety-three of those cases involved workers on oil rigs or workers involved in the oil spill clean-up efforts, while 34 were reported by the general public.

The Department is gathering data reported through its surveillance network of doctors, clinics, emergency care locations and medical facilities, which are reporting illnesses and injuries related to the oil spill for the ongoing database. Each exposure-related complaint is followed up on by DHH Office of Public Health staff.

This week's report also includes updated summaries of air surveillance and seafood surveillance data generated by state and federal agencies, including the EPA, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, a private company working with BP, and the Louisiana departments of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Environmental Quality. The seafood data shows that 336 samples of various kinds of seafood have been sampled and tested for chemicals present in hydrocarbons.

Breakdown of Cases by Category:

  • Of the workers who reported illnesses, 172 were male, 21 were female. Of the general public, nine were male, while 25 were female. Most of those individuals who reported illnesses were between the ages of 18 and 64.
  • Most workers and members of the general public either utilized an emergency room, or urgent care center, clinic or physician's office (102 and 73, respectively). Thirty-nine individuals called the Louisiana Poison Center's hotline. Seventeen individuals with mild symptoms had short hospitalizations.

Questions about exposure-related illnesses can be directed to the Louisiana Poison Center: 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Center is staffed 24-hours a day and can provide medical management advice. To report an exposure-related illness, call 1-888-293-7020.

The full Oil Spill Surveillance Report is available here. The report will be generated by DHH weekly and posted on www.dhhemergencynews.com.

IMAGE SOURCE - ELMER’S ISLAND, La. – Land bridges constructed by Louisiana National Guardsmen protect inland areas from the effects of wave action caused by Tropical Storm Alex, June 29 2010. Coastal barriers such as this, sandbags, Tiger Dams and Hesco barriers have been built to close gaps and protect low-lying sections along the coast from possible oil intrusion. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffery Barone, Public Affairs Representative/Released)

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