The Department of Health announced today it is suspending all services at the East Baton Rouge Parish Health Unit on Florida Blvd. Earlier this week, the Department of Health received a report that detailed the presence of mold throughout the building. Mold is known to cause adverse health effects to people with compromised immune systems.
The health unit has provided various health services and serves as the office of many public health programs, including those related to:
- reproductive health clinics (family planning and STD/HIV prevention and care)
- regional tuberculosis services,
- children’s special health services clinics,
- vital records services,
- sanitarian services and
- Nurse Family Partnership services.
The building is owned by the East Baton Rouge City-Parish but is staffed by the Department of Health’s Office of Public Health. The department has informed the City-Parish of this action and is working to find alternative locations for clients to access services.
Dr. Marilyn Reynaud, regional medical director for the Office of Public Health, said she and the agency continue to work with the City-Parish to address problems such as leaky roofs, faulty windows and building cracks that contribute to mold.
“Recent air monitoring has discovered elevated levels of mold throughout the building,” Reynaud said. “Exposure to mold can cause allergy-like symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal stuffiness, and eye and skin irritation. For some people, including many who are served by the public health unit, exposure to mold can cause more serious complications.”
“We cannot serve patients and clients in a building with known elevated levels of mold. Nor is it acceptable for our staff to work in these conditions,” added Dr. Reynaud.
People who are most at-risk for a reaction to mold are young people, those who are aging and those with chronic lung disease or a compromised immune system. More information about mold can be found from the CDC here.
The Department of Health is urging the City-Parish to work with its OPH regional office to find an immediate and appropriate new location for the health unit in the greater Baton Rouge area in order to continue these services. Clients of the health unit should call 225-342-6933 for more information.
A directory of health unit services can be found on the Department of Health’s website here.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.