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Cholera in Haiti

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 764
  • Category: Disease

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Diseases, such as cholera usually result in a medical condition whether it can be physically, mentally or lead to death. Diseases can affect many people and their environment conditions, whether it is domestically or globally. This spread of disease is what is currently taking place in Haiti as discussed in The New York Times article. There is an outbreak of the disease Cholera in Haiti that is affecting many people young and old. Many diseases can be defined as an abnormal condition that makes a person or country ill. Some type of signs, symptoms or some types of risk factors that can breakout usually accompanies it. Although most cholera infections are not detected, large cholera outbreaks, such as those seen in Haiti (Chao DL, Halloran ME), Vietnam (WHO. Outbreak news) and Zimbabwe (OCHA) in recent years, can occur.

Cholera, an acute diarrheal disease caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium vibrio cholera, can be spread when the feces of an infected person contaminate food or water (Medical New Today). It rarely spreads between people. The signs and symptoms are severe nausea and vomiting, watery diarrhea and fever. With this symptoms leads to dehydration and even shock and usually then is when the disease becomes fatal. Cholera can be treated with IV fluids, antibiotics, vaccinations and dehydration therapies (Medical New Today).

Outbreaks from cholera have been ongoing in Haiti since October 2010, after the earthquake hit. According to the Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Population (MSPP), as of July 22, 2012, 581,952 cases and 7,455 deaths have been reported since the cholera epidemic began in Haiti (CDC). The United Nations bears heavy responsibility for the outbreak: its own peacekeepers introduced the disease through sewage leaks at one of their encampments (NYTimes). Since the UN feels responsible, they are trying to fund a vaccination program to help those in need (NYTimes).

UN have been focusing on water and sanitation projects that have laid the foundation necessary for Haiti to get rid of cholera in the long term, through building latrines, hand washing stations, and waste disposal systems across urban and rural locations (“Cholera outbreak in,”). International Medical Corps try’s to help by putting water and sanitation into all of Haiti’s communities with basic programs, so that public health is not only possible, but also sustainable (Cholera outbreak in,”).

This subject relates to topics that we have discussed in class about the global sickness we hear about in other countries. Cholera in Haiti can be an example that we have talked about in class of the social dynamics that produce health difference. In class we talked about how increased rates of disease and death could result in increased inequalities in educational and health support, and social cohesion. With the conditions left from the earthquake, and cholera being the major affect on the people living there could cause poverty. Since cholera has contaminated the water, this means there is no safe drink water or adequate nutrients to be supplied. From these two indicators of basic human needs, could result in infant mortality and decline the growth development in Haiti. Also, many of the Haitian people seems to be suffering the most from absolute poverty because there essential needs are contaminated from the cholera, such as their water and food. With the help of the United Nation, the Haiti people are getting the help they deserve and need to get their country back in order.


Chao DL, Halloran ME, Longini IM. Vaccination strategies for epidemic cholera in Haiti with implications for the developing world. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011; 108: 7081-5 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102149108 pmid: 21482756.

Cholera in Haiti – Travelers’ Health – CDC. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/outbreak-notice/haiti-cholera.htm

Cholera outbreak in haiti. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://internationalmedicalcorps.org/page.aspx?pid=1345

Haiti’s Cholera Crisis – NYTimes.com. (n.d.). The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/haitis-cholera-crisis.html?_r=0

Haiti’s Cholera Outraced the Experts and Tainted the U.N. – NYTimes.com. (n.d.). The New York Times – Breaking News,World News & Multimedia. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/world/americas/haitis-cholera-outraced-the-experts-and-tainted-the-un.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120401

What Is Cholera? What Causes Cholera? (n.d.). Medical News Today: Health News. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/189269.php

World Health Organization. Outbreak news – severe acute watery diarrhoea with cases positive for Vibrio cholerae, Viet Nam. Wkly Epidemiol Rec 2008; 83: 157-8 pmid: 18456905.

Zimbabwe: OCHA Cholera Update Situation Report No. 22, 15 Jul 2009. New York: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs; 2009. Available from: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/710BDD52303B8C47492575FA00051308-Full_Report.pdf [accessed 19 January 2012].

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