Health Surveillance - State of Louisiana
UPDATE: This information is current as of June 18, 2010, 6:00 PM ET
Louisiana is using several existing surveillance systems to track symptoms that may be related to breathing, swallowing, or touching the oil. These systems include:
- emergency departments in its coastal counties,
- occupational, primary care, and urgent care clinics close to the response staging areas,
- National Poison Data System calls to identify Louisiana callers reporting symptoms that could be related to the oil spill,
- police reports to identify people who might have been exposed to the oil and had potential symptoms, and
- a hotline for people to call to report their oil exposures and health symptoms.
Louisiana’s state and local departments of health work with the various groups who run these surveillance systems to determine if there is a relationship between the oil exposure and the observed symptoms. Additionally, Louisiana is using CDC’s Early Aberration Reporting System, a surveillance system for local and state public health officials that assists them in analyzing data from emergency departments, 911 calls, physician office data, school and business absenteeism, and over-the-counter drug sales to identify health trends.
Findings (June 6 – June 12)
Since the oil spill began, there have been 109 reports of health complaints believed to be related to exposure to pollutants from the oil spill. Seventy-four reports came from among workers and 35 from among the general population. Most workers reported having had symptoms related to exposure to a variety of chemicals that cleared up quickly. Nine had short hospitalizations. The general population complaints were related to odors, and symptoms were considered mild and treatable. Three reported that their hospitalizations were related to breathing, swallowing or touching the oil; Louisiana public health officials are following up on these cases.
These data are from the surveillance system monitoring emergency department visits in seven hospitals in the coastal region to determine whether there are increases in upper respiratory illnesses and asthma in the region. This year’s weekly data have been compared with data from the past three years; there is no increase to report.
Additional analysis of these data is provided by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.