CDC Warns Travelers of Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

Those visiting Haiti urged to take precautions to protect themselves from the disease
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned those traveling to Haiti to celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day to take precautions to protect themselves from cholera.

An outbreak of cholera has been spreading in Haiti since Oct. 21. Cholera infection causes severe diarrhea that can result in life-threatening dehydration. However, cholera can be treated with immediate replacement of fluids and salts as well as antibiotics, which can shorten the course and decrease the severity of illness.

The CDC recommends that travelers take water purification tablets with them or other supplies to make water safe for drinking, consume food that has been thoroughly cooked and hot, and wash hands with soap and water. Travelers are also advised to wash themselves, children, and clothes away from drinking water sources; use latrines or chemical toilets; and pack oral rehydration salts in case stricken with diarrhea. The agency urges travelers with watery diarrhea to seek medical attention immediately.

According to a CDC press release, "people most often get cholera by drinking water or eating food that has cholera germs in it. Water can be contaminated with the feces of a person sick with cholera. Food can be contaminated by water that has cholera germs in it or if it has been prepared or handled by a person sick with cholera."

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