Take Precautions Against Cholera if Headed to Haiti:
MONDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- People traveling to Haiti or
the Dominican Republic over the holidays should take steps to
protect themselves from cholera, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said in a bulletin issued Monday.
Cholera, which is contracted by consuming contaminated water or
food, can be deadly without proper care. Treatment includes oral
rehydration, salts and antibiotics.
Haiti has been in the grip of an ongoing outbreak of cholera
that began in mid-October. On Sunday, the Haitian health ministry
announced that the death toll had surpassed 2,500 people,
Agence-France Presse reported. Neighboring Dominican Republic
has also been affected by the outbreak but "to a limited degree,"
the CDC said.
The CDC is now offering travelers to Haiti and the Dominican
Republic tips for preventing cholera and treating it should the
When packing for your trip, include water purification tablets
and oral rehydration salts. Both products can be purchased at major
retailers as well as sports and outdoors stores.
When you are in Haiti or the Dominican Republic, use only safe
water for drinking, preparing foods and beverages, brushing teeth,
and washing hands. Safe water includes water that has been boiled
or treated with water purification tablets or chlorine, and bottled
water with unbroken seals. Canned/bottled carbonated beverages are
also safe to drink and use, says the CDC.
You should also:
- Make sure food is thoroughly cooked and served hot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and safe water, or use 62
percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Wash yourself, your children, diapers and clothes away from
drinking water sources.
If you develop watery diarrhea (a sign of cholera) while on your
trip, you should start drinking safe water mixed with oral
rehydration salts immediately. Sip the solution every few minutes
as long as the diarrhea persists. Go to a clinic right away.
If you don't have oral rehydration salts, sip safe water. Seek
out medical care and oral rehydration salts immediately, the CDC
If you develop watery diarrhea within 10 days of returning from
Haiti or the Dominican Republic, seek medical care and tell your
doctor or health-care provider that you have been in a country
where there is cholera. Do not travel again until you are well.
The World Health Organization has more about
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.