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Haiti Cholera Update #18

A short update: the elections in Haiti have nearly bumped cholera off the radar.

The latest MSPP (Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population) report as of 24 November 2010 showed 75,888 cases of cholera accounting for 1,721 deaths since the outbreak began. There have been 31,210 hospitalizations. The hospital mortality rate is 3.6%. Cholera promptly treated has a mortality rate of 1-2%. As mentioned in my last update, political interference may be tainting the figures: note the sharp drop in hospitalizations on the bar graph to the right just prior to yesterday’s elections.

Everyone is sensitive about it. Rumors abound about how it can/cannot be transmitted. (And fyi–Rumors in Haiti might as well be fact with the way people heed them.) I’ve read article after article about how people are dying trying to get to treatment centers because public transport won’t pick them up. I read a quote from an article on CNN yesterday that said the two biggest needs right now in Haiti are doctors/nurses who know how to treat cholera and trucks to carry dead bodies.

I had a good friend of mine (a fellow ex-pat) whose (Haitian) boyfriend’s father recently died suddenly in Port Au Prince with cholera-like symptoms. They did a bunch of labs. Turned out he did NOT have cholera. Still, the morgue initially wouldn’t take his body. They brought the labs proving it was not cholera from which he died. They finally agreed to take the body, but had to pay double the price because of the “risk” they were assuming.

  • HaitiLibre is also reporting the border with the Dominican Republic is now closed:
  • The cholera epidemic in Haiti continues to spread. Insufficient medical resources in the field are not able to control the disease. Faced with this alarming situation, the Dominican Republic, which decided to deploy significant military resources at its borders. “With cholera we can not play, or ignore the risks despite all measures of disease control, we are not fully shielded face of this threat” said a government official.

    While only 4 cases of cholera were confirmed and treated in recent days, Dominican Republic (no deaths), the authorities decided to close the border with Haiti where the disease has already made more than 2,000 dead.

    Major General Carlos Alberto Rivera Gates, the head of the Dominican army, said the reinforcement and the closure of the border for an indefinite period, met the dispositions adopted at a meeting held last Wednesday at National Palace, under the direction of the President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández and attended, among others, Ministers: Public Health, Armed Forces and the directors of Cesfront, migration and other institutions.

  • I will post the next update Wednesday (more likely) Thursday, or sooner if events warrant.  For more immediate updates, I highly recommend Crawford Killian at his blog H1N1.More resources:

    #Haiti Daily (Twitter newspaper)

    Haiti Information Project.

    Haiti: Operational Biosurveillance (Twitter)

    H5N1

    HaitiLibre (English) (français) (Twitter — English and French)

    Mediahacker: Independent multimedia reporting from Haiti (Twitter)

    Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population (Homepage) (Cholera Updates) (in French)

    PAHO’s Haiti Cholera page. (PAHO Situation Reports and other documentation.) (Blog.)

    Praecipio International (HEAS)

    On the ground, good sources of information and of course needing donations:

    Partners in Health (Twitter).

    Médecins sans frontières

    [Cross-posted at Those Emergency Blues]

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