Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

CHOLERA IN HAITI

PHOTO/CNN
PHOTO/CNN

Haiti – A cholera outbreak just north of Port-au-Prince has resulted severe dehydration and death.

According to CNN, the U.N. humanitarian spokesperson, Imogen Wall, has reported that laboratory test have confirmed at least 138 have died in the last 48 hours. And more than 1,526 people have reported symptoms of severe diarrhea and vomiting.

The Haitian Red Cross reports that contaminated river water is the suspected source, as most of the cases have occurred in an area stretching from north-central to north-west Haiti along the Artibonite River. A sanitary cordon is in place around the affected region in an effort to contain the spread of disease.

Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. Infection occurs with someone ingests water and food contaminated with the bug. Health care professionals consider it the most feared epidemic diarrheal disease because it causes severe dehydration and death within hours of the infection.

Unlike many causes of diarrhea that we see in America, the use of medicines just make things worse. Treating cholera with drugs that work like tums, prilosec, and zantac increases the risk of cholera and makes people more likely to have severe disease.

Immediate treatment with intravenous fluids and electrolyte replacement is mandatory,  otherwise hypovolemic shock and death can occur. Today the American Red Cross has reported sending three trucks from Port au Prince carrying 31,000 liters of clean water, chlorine, and large tents and sleeping mats to increase the hospital’s capacity.

If you want to help, contact the American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/

Related to this story:

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/21/haiti.cholera/?hpt=Sbin

USAToday: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-10-21-Haiti-outbreak_N.htm

American Red Cross: http://newsroom.redcross.org/

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About MDyson

Medical Doctor and Humanitarian
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