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Loyola participates in public health information session

Loyola press release - September 15, 2008

Loyola University New Orleans Professor of Biology Patricia Dorn, Ph.D., will participate in an information session hosted by New Orleans City Councilman James Carter to educate residents in preventing infestations by pests such as mosquitoes, rodents and kissing bugs, all of which are known to carry infectious diseases.

The meeting, which is free and open to the public, takes place Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m., at the Chua Bo De Buddist Temple, located on Highway 996, in Lower Coast, Algiers. The session is held in conjunction with Loyola, Tulane University and New Orleans Mosquito Control.

Dorn is an international expert on Chagas disease, a tropical parasitic disease spread by kissing bugs. She will be available to answer questions from the public.

Residents will also be offered free blood screenings at the session and environmental assessments of their property can be scheduled.

Currently, very few cases of human infection by the Chagas parasite are known in the United States; however, Dorn and Dr. Dawn Wesson, associate professor of tropical medicine at Tulane University, were able to identify a locally acquired case of insect-transmitted Chagas Disease in the Greater New Orleans area in the summer of 2006.

Chagas disease is a leading cause of heart disease in Latin America, according to Dorn.

Screening of the U.S. blood supply for the Chagas parasite began in 2007. So far, fewer than 2,400 blood units have been shown to be positive for the parasite (640 confirmed).

For more information, contact Dr. Patricia Dorn at dorn@loyno.edu or call (504) 865-3672.