St. Maarten Government issues cholera warning

POSTED: 10/1/12 12:23 PM

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) which is part of the Ministry of Public Health, continues surveillance for Cholera, and also recommends to travelers Hispanola (Haiti, Dominican Republic), to practice basic hygienic habits in order to avoid getting cholera.

The Pan American Health Organization has sought the cooperation of Central American and Caribbean countries to step up efforts to detect the occurrence of outbreaks and implementing intervention actions to reduce cholera spreading determinants.

In a press release directed at travelers to risk-destinations, the CPS advised to ensure taking vital precautions such as hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water.

“The main rule is, always be aware of the quality of what you eat and drink. As part of the Minister of Public Health’s “Get Checked,” campaign, enjoy and keep safe as you travel and help us keep Sint Maarten cholera free by practicing a safe and healthy lifestyle,” CPS stated in the press release.

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 World Health Organization International Health Regulations 2005.

In countries where no cholera cases have been reported such as Sint Maarten, CPS as part of its surveillance system will continue to monitor for any trend of acute diarrhea diseases with an emphasis on adults.

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. Immediately consult your physician if you have travelled and have any of the symptoms, while maintaining proper hygiene.

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 there is infrastructure damage, the lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene can increase the risk of cholera, as well as numerous other diarrhea diseases.

“To minimize the number of people infected, frequent hand washing, personal hygiene, safe water use and food preparation are a necessity. Maintain these basic hygienic habits as you travel,” CPS warns.

 

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