Cholera Updates from Haiti
The Cholera outbreak in Haiti that's been reported extensively in the media, is the nation's first in more than 100 years.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), two conditions need to be present in order for a cholera outbreak to occur. They are: (1) there must be significant breaches in the water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure used by groups of people, permitting large-scale exposure to food or water contaminated with Vibrio cholerae organisms; and (2) cholera must be present in the population.
While it is unclear how cholera was re-introduced to Haiti, both of these conditions now exist. The first condition has existed in Haiti for many years. Most anyone who has traveled there is aware of the threat of waterborne illnesses on visitors and residents alike. Staff of the Green Family Foundation have witnessed firsthand what freestanding water coupled with inefficient (or nonexistent) sanitation looks like. In Carrefour, just past the evermore undriveable Chavez Road, there is a "river of trash" in which we see residents wading and rummaging for items. It is clearly not something safe to do. It happens, though. And watching the people of Haiti go through this is not easy to see.
Our friends, Partners in Health are on the ground in Haiti and continuing their health work despite the cholera outbreak. Some of their work now is concentrated on protecting citizens with weakened immune systems from the outbreak. As of this writing they report none of the Haitian patients in their care have been fallen ill from cholera.
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