Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) November 2010
Early in October 2010, a number of Cholera cases were reported in localities of Haiti’s Central and Artibonite regional departments. Within a few days, the disease spread out in other nearby localities. By October 21st, 2010 the National Laboratory of Public Health in Haiti identified Vibrio Cholerae O1, biotype El Tor as the agent responsible for this outbreak.
By the time of the announcement, 1,526 cases and 138 deaths were reported by the ministry of Health. Additional cases of cholera continued to appear in nearby regions along the Artibonite River thereafter, and on October 27, a total of 4722 cholera cases and 303 related deaths were documented.
The epidemic is spreading quickly. Cholera currently exists in all of Haiti’s geographic departments; it has spread to the country’s national prison and 10 inmates have been confirmed dead. All the hospitals in Port-au-Prince are already overfilled to capacity; patients are lying in the streets, waiting for treatment. U.N. predict that while the outbreak places all Haiti’s 10 million citizens at risk, it could infect 200,000 people.
According to Dr. Marie-Ange D. Tardieu, a plastic surgeon and historian of medicine who was in Lima during the 1991 Cholera Epidemic in Peru, "this epidemic of cholera is highly contagious and will spare no one in Haiti: Rich, poor, foreigners, travelers, farmers, professionals, government officials, health care workers, healthy or sick, young or old, babies and children, all can be and will be affected. Those already suffering from other parasitic infestations are at greater risk of developing “full blown” cholera."
Haiti cholera death toll soars, and the epidemic shows no sign of abating. As of November 18, 2010 the death toll rose to over 1, 100; close to 20, 000 have fallen sick. Dozens of deaths are confirmed in
Port-au-Prince and Petion-
Ville. Cases are reported in
the Dominican Republic and
Florida. Experts predict that if
more cases of cholera are
confirmed, the outbreak
threatens some 2, 5 to 3
million people living in Port-
au-Prince. Dr. K. Dalmacy, a
Haitian born physician
practicing in New York, specialist in preventive medicine and Diplomate of the American Board of Pathology noted "Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food and water contaminated with the bacteria vibrio cholerae. It has a short incubation period and produces painless profuse watery diarrhea that quickly leads to dehydration, shock and death if treatment is not promptly administered."... "The infection can kill a victim in less than 2 hours ... But cholera can easily be treated and is preventable if one understands how it occurs and how it spreads.."
According to the CDC, "Haiti is the latest country to be affected by the ongoing cholera pandemic, which began 49 years ago in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and has lasted longer and spread farther than any previously known cholera pandemic." The course of the cholera outbreak in Haiti is difficult to predict … environmental conditions in Haiti are favorable for its continued spread."
Haiti’s cholera epidemic could easily worsen despite efforts to control it. To help every individual residing in Haiti stay alive, save lives and prevent further spread of the epidemic, Dr. Dalmacy, in collaboration with Dr. Marie Ange D Tardieu, recommends the following:
1 Everyone should be aware of what bacteria cause Cholera. Cholera is an anfection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium vibrio cholera. Epidemics of cholera are caused
by one of 2 vibrio cholera strains: Vibrio cholera O1 and vibrio cholera vibrio cholera 0139. The vibrio cholera 01 occurs as two biotypes: The classical biotype, and the El Tor.
The classical biotype was the one that was implicated in the first 6 cholera pandemics.
The El Tor biotype, first identified in 1960, is the agent causing the current cholera epidemic in Haiti. This type makes it likely that the cholera epidemic will continue to spread in Haiti for a while. When compared to the classical strain, those infected with the El Tor the disease for longer period of time, and the bacterium is able to survive longer than the classical strain.
2. Everyone must know how to recognize the symptoms of
cholera. The main symptoms of cholera are profuse diarrhea and vomiting. But someone infected with cholera may have no symptoms at all or may have complaints of mild diarrhea. Only 7% of those who are infected present with the typical “full blown” syndrome of cholera. When “full blown,” cholera is the most rapidly fatal illness known to mankind.
The first symptom of cholera is a sensation of fullness and “gurgling” in the belly. This is followed rapidly by the first loose stool. After several watery stools, the resultant stool takes the typical appearance of “rice water.” The “rice water” stool usually loses its odor except a mild fishy odor. A healthy person may become hypotensive (low blood pressure) within one hour of the onset of symptoms, and may die within 2-3 hours if no treatment is provided. More commonly, the disease progresses from the first liquid stool to shock within 4-12 hours, with death occurring within 18 hours to several days.