CDC: U.S. Cholera Cases Linked to Hispaniola Epidemic

Cases in the U.S. linked to travel to Hispaniola or with consumption of seafood from Haiti

FRIDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, cholera cases caused by toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 are linked to travel to Hispaniola and consumption of seafood from Haiti, according to a report published online July 21 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Anna E. Newton, from the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the characteristics of confirmed cholera cases in the United States that were associated with the Hispaniola epidemic and reported to the CDC's Cholera and Other Vibrio Illness Surveillance System by state and local health officials. For each case of cholera, details of the demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic information, including selected food and water exposures associated with cholera, travel history, and vaccination status, were reported.

The investigators identified 23 U.S. cholera cases associated with the Hispaniola cholera epidemic in Haiti. All cases were associated with recent travel to Haiti (13) or the Dominican Republic (nine), or consumption of seafood brought from Haiti (one). Illness started before return to the United States in six patients, on the day of return in five, and one to 11 days after return in 12 cases. No one received cholera vaccination before travel. No deaths were reported, although 39 percent of patients were hospitalized and 30 percent reported to emergency departments. All the 20 cholera cases confirmed by culture matched the Haiti isolate, and three were identified by serologic testing. Though all patients received antimicrobial agents, all isolates showed resistance to them.

"Until cholera in Haiti and Dominican Republic resolves, clinicians, microbiologists, and public health workers in the United States should be prepared for more cases in travellers returning from Hispaniola," the authors write.

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