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Hurricane Katrina causing prolonged health problems?

From the LA Times:

NEW ORLEANS — A large number of people along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts are developing a condition that some have dubbed "Katrina cough," believed to be linked to mold and dust circulating after Hurricane Katrina.

Health officials say they are trying to determine how widespread the problem is. There are suggestions that it is popping up regularly among people who have returned to storm-ravaged areas, particularly New Orleans.

Dr. Dennis Casey, one of the few ear, nose and throat doctors seeing patients in New Orleans, called the condition "very prevalent." And Dr. Kevin Jordan, director of medical affairs at Touro Infirmary and Memorial Medical Center in downtown New Orleans, said the hospital had seen at least a 25% increase in complaints regarding sinus headaches, congestion, runny noses and sore throats since Katrina.

In most cases, Casey said, patients appear to be "allergic to the filth they are exposed to." Those allergies make the patients more susceptible to respiratory illness, including bacterial bronchitis and sinusitis.

Among the public, the condition is known alternately as "Katrina cough" and "Katrina's revenge" — much to the consternation of physicians who feel the monikers paint a needlessly alarming portrait of the environment.

Posted by Bryan Woods | Permalink