Baton Rouge --- Did you know Louisiana was the first state to have a public health department? It was begun in New Orleans in 1855 in response to the yellow fever epidemic. Today, the Department of Health – Office of Public Health performs a number of functions to help citizens lead healthy lives, such as restaurant sanitary inspections, water quality monitoring, bioterrorism preparedness, West Nile surveillance and back-to-school immunizations, to name a few.

These and other interesting facts about public health in Louisiana will be on display in the Rotunda area of the Capitol on Wednesday, April 7, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. LDH-OPH staff will set up booths, information tables and handouts for both the public and members of the Legislature.

In addition, public health nurses will be providing free blood pressure screenings and a limited number of free blood sugar tests. The nurses will be at the Capitol until 2 p.m.

The purpose of the display and screenings are to help citizens gain a better understanding of how public health affects their lives and is part of National Public Health Week, April 5-11.

WHAT: National Public Health Week display

WHERE: Rotunda area of the State Capitol, Baton Rouge

WHEN: Wednesday, April 7

TIME:    9 a.m. until 3 p.m.