Louisiana's infectious disease outbreaks often go unreported


Children started appearing at the hospital with symptoms of viral meningitis — headache, fever, lack of appetite, stiff neck.

The first one came on May 6. Nine days later, another. The next day, a third. By June 22, 16 children had entered through the doors of the south-central Louisiana hospital, seeking help for what doctors diagnosed as viral meningitis, according to state officials. In the last two weeks, the ill were arriving at the rate of almost one per day.

Public health officials weren’t alerted to the outbreak until the 16th patient was diagnosed. State law requires physicians notify public health officials of any suspected case of viral meningitis within one business day. read more