November 24, 2008

Health issues affect FEMA trailer kids

Children of families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita are showing serious physical and mental health issues, a U.S. hospital study indicates.

The report, released Monday by the New York's Children's Health Fund, reviewed medical records of 261 children who lived in a federally funded Baton Rouge trailer park until early summer, USA Today reported.

Forty-one percent of children younger than 4 were diagnosed with anemia, more than double the rate of children living in New York City homeless shelters, survey results indicated.

Other findings:

-- 55 percent of elementary-school-aged children had a behavior or learning problem.

-- 42 percent of children were diagnosed with hay fever, and-or upper respiratory infection.

-- 24 percent had a cluster of upper respiratory, allergic and skin ailments.

After Hurricane Katrina, the Children's Health Fund dispersed mobile clinics throughout the U.S. Gulf Coast, including one outside Renaissance Village in Baton Rouge, the largest Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park in the region, USA Today reported.

The Children's Health Fund used medical data gathered from that clinic to conduct the survey, says Irwin Redlener, the study's author and organization president.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would undertake a long-term study of children who lived in federally issued trailers and mobile homes in Louisiana and Mississippi, hundreds of which were found to have high levels of toxins, including formaldehyde.