BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) advises residents and those who worked with the public during and after Barry consider the following guidance about vaccinations to protect against infectious diseases.
- Ask about a tetanus vaccination (DT or DTaP) if it has been longer than 10 years since you last received one
- Follow the state’s immunization schedule for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and chicken pox vaccinations
- If you’ve been exposed to blood or bodily fluids, ask a doctor for recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis
- If you’re working in a shelter or in a healthcare role and are under vaccinated, receive the missing vaccines
- All wounds should be immediately cleaned and bandaged. You should also see a doctor and receive a tetanus shot if your last dose was more than five years ago
- Animal bites or scratches require a medical evaluation for the possibility of rabies
- Consult your physician, your local pharmacy, or a public health unit for any concerns about vaccine-preventable illnesses
LDH noted hepatitis A transmission is not a concern following a hurricane or flood, citing information produced by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which states there is a low probability of exposure and no transmission of the virus from contaminated water has been identified since the 1980s. However, the state has battled a hepatitis A outbreak, first declared on December 18, 2018, that has risen to over 300 cases.
In addition to vaccinations, LDH recommends the public follow good personal hygiene, including the use of soap and water during hand washing.
Certain pharmacies offer free vaccines with most insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, including Winn-Dixie which provides hepatitis A and tetanus vaccination (DT or DTaP).
Additional support may be available from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in Louisiana on July 12, days before Barry’s landfall.
The declaration follows President Trump’s emergency declaration for the state and gives Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.