CPS advises persons travelling to Haiti to take preventive measures as Cholera cases Jump
The Collective Preventive Services (CPS) which is part of the Ministry of Public Health, would like to alert travelers to Haiti, that there has been a jump in the number of cholera cases, according to the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The disease, is now considered the largest cholera outbreak in the world, and has killed more than 7,000 people and sickened another 530.000.
Persons who plan to travel to Haiti 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 World Health Organization 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.  Immediately consult your physician if you have travelled and have 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.
Cholera is easily treatable, and if patients are given oral re-hydration salts promptly to replace lost fluids, and they can nearly always be cured.
In a small percentage of people, cholera can cause very severe dehydration potentially leading to death.  To minimize the number of people infected, frequent hand washing, personal hygiene, safe water use and food preparation are a necessity.
By taking a few basic precautions, cholera as well as most other food and water-borne diseases can easily be prevented.  The main rule is, always be aware of the quality of what you eat and drink.