Cholera Outbreak Confirmed in Haiti: 1,500 Infected
Cholera Outbreak in Haiti
Medical officials in Haiti have confirmed a cholera outbreak, which has infected at least 1,500 people. Over 140 people have already died, and the big fear it that the cholera outbreak will spread to the refugee camps outside Port-au-Prince, where roughly 1.5 million people are still left homeless after the earthquake.
Dr. Gabriel Thimote, head of Haiti's health department, said that hospitals in Douin, Marchand Dessalines and areas around Saint-Marc, north of Por-au-Prince, are overwhelmed.
What is Cholera?
Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by eating or drinking food or fluid infected with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. Cholera presents as severe diarrhea and vomiting. It can be fatal if left untreated. Cholera is spread through unsanitary food and water, and not everyone who is infected with cholera will show symptoms.
Cholera is treatable with antibiotics and fluid replacement if properly diagnosed. Most people who contract cholera either do not show symptoms or show mild symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult.
"I can confirm it is cholera," President Preval told Reuters news agency.
"Now we are making sure people are fully aware of precautionary measures they have to take to prevent contamination"
More about cholera, from the World Health Organization:
Cholera remains a global threat and is one of the key indicators of social development. While the disease no longer poses a threat to countries with minimum standards of hygiene, it remains a challenge to countries where access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation cannot be guaranteed.