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Published On: Wed, Apr 10th, 2013

The CDC advises ‘practicing usual precautions’ to prevent cholera if traveling to Hispaniola

The cholera outbreaks in Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been ongoing since the fall of 2010 resulting in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases, according to a CDC travel notice today.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

In Haiti,  according to the Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Population (MSPP), as of March 4, 2013, 649,449 cases and 8,057 deaths have been reported since the cholera epidemic began in Haiti.

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, the Dominican Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud Publica y Asistencia Social [MSP]) reports 7,860 suspected cholera cases and 66 suspected cholera-related deaths have been reported for all of 2012. As of February 16, a total of 708 suspected cholera cases and 10 suspected cholera-related deaths have been reported for 2013.

Although the risk of contracting cholera for most travelers to Hispaniola is not considered high risk, the CDC still advises travelers to the island to exercise caution to avoid getting sick (the U.S. Department of State has maintained a travel warning for Haiti urging U.S. citizens to avoid all nonessential travel to Haiti).

Drinking safe water, handwashing, the use of toilets, cooking food well (Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it) and preparing a travel health kit are all recommendation from health authorities.

Before departing for Haiti or the Dominican Republic, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for an antibiotic. If you get sick with diarrhea while you are in abroad, you can take the antibiotic, as prescribed. Also, remember to drink fluids and use oral rehydration salts (ORS) to prevent dehydration.

If you have severe watery diarrhea, seek medical care right away.

Cholera is a bacterial disease that can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Cholera is most often spread through the ingestion of contaminated food or drinking water. Water may be contaminated by the feces of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or by being handled by a person ill with cholera.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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