Haiti Cholera outbreak spreads:
The cholera outbreak in Haiti appears to have broken the international borders and now has cases appearing in Florida and the Dominican Republic. A woman who lives in Florida returned home to the US after visiting family in Haiti and carried cholera home with her. Also, a construction worker for the Dominican Republic who had been working in Port-Au-Prince carried the illness back with him to DR. These cases mark the first known spread of the Haitian cholera outbreak spreading outside Haiti. More can be read on the newly diagnosed/spread cases here.
Cholera is a fairly infective disease but easy to control. Hand washing, basic sanitation, access to pure water and rehydration are the cornerstones in combating cholera. Fortunately, both the DR and Florida have this opportunity and resources. The likelihood of a full-scale outbreak emerging in either the USA or DR is slim. It is important to note that cholera has been previously involved in global pandemics.
1816-1825 starting in Bengal and then spread across India and even as far as China and Indonesia
1829-1855 effecting Russia, Germany, France, England and Egypt
1863-1875 Europe and Africa
By the turn of the century, public health had advanced enough that most industrialized nations were able to significantly reduce death from cholera. More details on the cholera pandemics can be found here.
Helping on the ground in Haiti:
On a bit of good news I was happy to cyber-meet the crew at Materials Management Relief Corps (MMRC) who is doing some great work on the ground in Haiti. Please check out their website and read their blog…great stories and some people who could use a hand in their fight for global health!