Health workers rush to stymie Haitian cholera

Health partners in Haiti have responded promptly to an increased number of cholera cases in the Ouest province to ensure that new infections do not spread to the county’s capital of Port-au-Prince.

The cholera outbreak in Haiti that began last October has claimed over 4,500 lives and has caused close to 300,000 infections. The surge in the number of recent cases in the Ouest department is a reminder of the need for vigilance in the country, according to World Health Organization spokesperson Fadela Chaib.

“Given the early detection of alerts, a prompt response is under way,” Chaib said. “Haiti will be facing cholera for years unless water and sanitation issues are properly fixed.”

An independent panel set up by the United Nations determined that a “confluence of circumstances” and not the fault of any group or individual was responsible for the fast-moving outbreak. The panel of experts also included multiple recommendations for the Haitian government and the UN to prevent future introduction and spread of cholera.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cholera is an acute, diarrheal disease caused by intestinal infection with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. Infected people may experience serious symptoms of watery diarrhea, leg cramps, and vomiting which can lead to dehydration, shock and in extreme cases, death.