Cholera on the rise again in Haiti, Dominican Republic

POSTED: 06/6/11 1:05 PM

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS) says its travel advice to Haiti and the Dominican Republic remains in force due to the cholera outbreak which has claimed a total of 5,234 lives in Haiti. The cumulative number of cholera cases in Haiti up to May 10 stands at 302,401 according to the Pan American Health Organization PAHO.
A number of new patients have been hospitalized in the past week in Haiti, especially in the South-East and North-West departments and in the capital Port-au-Prince. Additionally, Arbonite and Centre continue to report new cases and an increase in cases have also been reported in the border zone with the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Health of the Dominican Republic has reported an increase in the number of suspected cases of cholera principally in the peripheral area of Santo Domingo, near the rivers Ozama and Isabela.
As of May 18, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health reported a total of 1,085 laboratory confirmed cases of cholera; 13 people died.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in the last quarter of 2010, cholera has hit people in 26 out of the 31 provinces of the Dominican Republic.
People who plan to travel to the island are advised to take preventive measures. Ensure taking vital precautions such as hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water.
Family physicians are requested to be on alert and report any cholera symptoms to CPS to ensure proper case management and follow up according to the WHO’s international health regulations.
Symptoms can occur within 24 to 48 hours of being infected with the cholera causing bacteria. Cholera symptoms are generally mild; they include diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle cramps. About one infected person out of 20 has severe signs and symptoms, such as increased heart rate, dehydration, and shock. People with such symptoms are advised to consult a physician immediately.
Cholera is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours.
Cholera is transmitted through fecal contamination of water and food. In places where the infrastructure is damaged, and there is a lack of safe drinking water while sanitation and hygiene is poor, people are at an increased risk.
Cholera is easily treatable; patients, who promptly receive oral re-hydration salts to replace lost fluids, can nearly always be cured.
In a small percentage of patients cholera causes severe dehydration; this has potentially fatal consequences. Frequent hand washing, good personal hygiene, using safe water and preparing food carefully minimize the number infections,

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