Louisiana DHH Releases Oil Spill-Related Exposure Information

June 8, 2010

71 Exposure-Related Illnesses; Officials Continue to Monitor Health Impacts

BATON ROUGE (June 8, 2010) – Seventy-one cases of oil spill-related illnesses have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to date, according to a report released today. Fifty of those involved workers on oil rigs or those involved in the oil spill clean-up efforts, while 21 illnesses were reported by the general public.

Epidemiologists and scientists with DHH continue to work closely with other state, regional and local officials, as well as hospitals, clinics and mobile health units to monitor in the impacts of oil and dispersants on Louisiana residents, workers and volunteers along the coast.

The Department has put out calls for doctors and medical facilities to report all illnesses and injuries related to the oil spill for an ongoing database. Each exposure-related complaint is followed up on by Office of Public Health staff.

Worker Illnesses
Most workers who reported exposure-related illnesses experienced symptoms such as throat irritation, cough, shortness of breath, eye irritation, nausea, chest pain and headaches. Eight workers were hospitalized. These hospitalizations averaged one day.

Illness Reported by General Public
Most of the illnesses reported by the general public have been related to odors from the oil spill. Officials have urged those who may be sensitive to the odors to stay indoors with doors and windows closed, and to run their air conditioning. Residents with pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness, should consider contacting their physician if they feel symptomatic.

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