Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Travel medicine - Dominicain Republic: Possible cholera outbreak

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP), update April 23, 2012

Health officials are investigating what could be a new cholera outbreak in the northern Dominican Republic, where one woman died and more than 200 people have sought medical attention, Health Minister Bautista Rojas said lastThursday.
He cautioned that only six of the more than 200 cases have been confirmed as cholera, including that of a 64-year-old woman who died on Wednesday. The remaining patients exhibit cholera symptoms but are awaiting confirmation through lab tests, he said.
The outbreak occurred in the northern town of Tamboril, where heavy rains damaged water and sewer pipes earlier this month.
Bautista said the outbreak is under control, and government officials said they are disinfecting potable water with the maximum amount of chlorine allowed.
The first cholera outbreak in the Dominican Republic occurred in late 2010 with more than 22,500 cases and 163 deaths reported. The number of cases had been dwindling since August 2011.
The neighboring country of Haiti, where the outbreak originated, is still struggling with cholera, which has killed more than 7,000 people and sickened 530,000 more, according to Haitian health officials.

My View : While Cholera vaccine is now available easily in India in the form of oral drops (two doses at a gap of 15 days) for children above 1 year age and adults, it is to be recommended for travelers either to these central american countries, or possibly to visitors to West bengal, Orissa and Bangladesh, where cholera still remains a major health problem. Closer to home (in Chandigarh) special situations with large gatherings of people, like the Kumbh mela may be another appropriate indication of the same.

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