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Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

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Louisiana DHH Releases Oil Spill-Related Exposure Information

143 Exposure-Related Cases; Officials Continue to Monitor Health Impacts

Monday, June 21, 2010  |  Contact: Media & Communications: Phone: 225.342.1532, E-mail: dhhinfo@la.gov

BATON ROUGE—One hundred and forty-three cases of oil spill exposure-related cases have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to date, according to its third surveillance report released today. One hundred and eight of those cases involved workers on oil rigs or workers involved in the oil spill clean-up efforts, while 35 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 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 249 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, 103 were male, five were female. Of the general public, 11 were male, while 24 were female. Most of those individuals who reported illnesses were between the ages of 18 and 64.
Most workers either utilized an emergency room or urgent care center, or a clinic or physician's office (64 and 41, respectively). Seventeen workers and three members of the general public 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.

DHH's Office of Public Health, Section of Environmental Epidemiology & Toxicology gathers and analyzes information provided by surveillance sites, including hospital emergency departments, outpatient clinics, physician's offices and the Louisiana Poison Center.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

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