Cholera in the Americas (summary)

The Pan American Health Organization (Regional Office of the World Health Organization) has issued a report summarizing the cholera situation in the Americas. There are 4 countries that currently have reported cholera outbreaks and deaths.

  • Haiti - The reappearance of cholera in the Americas began in Haiti in 2010 in a massive epidemic that followed the disastrous earthquake. Since then, there have been 692,098 reported cholera cases, of which 8,470 died. There has been an increasing trend noted in the past 4 weeks, coinciding with the rainy season.

  • Dominican Republic - Cholera crossed the border in late 2010 from Haiti to the Dominican Republic where there have been a total of 31,220 suspected cholera cases, of which 462 died. During this epidemic period, 12 of 32 provinces have registered suspected cholera cases. The most affected provinces now include Azua, Distrito Nacional, San Cristobal, Santiago, Santo Domingo and La Vega. The nuber of cases is now increasing due to the rainy season of Hispaniola.

  • Cuba - Because many Cuban health personnel, among others, provided support for Haiti to help control their cholera epidemic, it was inevitable that the infection would spread to Cuba. So far, there have been 678 confirmed cholera cases, including 3 deaths. No new cases have been reported since late August, although there are unofficial reports that sporadic cases continue.

  • Mexico - Cholera probably spread from either of these countries to Mexico this year, where there have been a total of 184 cases and 1 death. The cases have been reported from the Federal District, and the states of Hidalgo, Mexico, San Luis Potosi and Veracruz.

Travellers to any area where cholera has been reported can reduce the risk of exposure to this infection by strictly observing all food and water precautions. If gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., vomiting and profuse watery diarrhoea) develop while visiting the affected area, travellers should seek medical care at once.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Cholera.

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