Cholera spreads to almost all Dominican provinces

Health officials in the Dominican Republic are reporting that, as the outbreak of cholera spreads throughout most of the country, there are hundreds of new cases of the highly infectious disease.

Jose Rodriguez, the country’s deputy health minister said there have been 1,143 cases of cholera and 14 deaths since the outbreak started in November. New cases reported Monday have risen around 50 percent since the middle of May, reports Fox News.

Cases have been confirmed in 28 of the country’s 32 provinces according to the Dominican physicians' union. It is feared that the situation may become worse with the onset of the hurricane season in June.

Cholera was detected in the Dominican Republic after the October outbreak of cholera in neighboring Haiti. Since that outbreak began, there have been 266,000 cases and close to 5,000 deaths in Haiti.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by the infection of the intestine with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. It is estimated that three to five million cases and 100,000 deaths occur each year worldwide from cholera. Without treatment of the disease’s symptoms of dehydration, watery diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps, death may occur as a result of the disease within hours.