Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

The History and Future of Cholera in Haiti

This blog post describes the beginning of the cholera epidemic from one observer’s perspective. It also compares the initial lack of international response and local vulnerability to the disease to the ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Cholera in Haiti, four years later

H5N1
October 20, 2014

On the evening of October 20, 2010, I posted an item from Treyfish at Pandemic Information News: Haiti: A mysterious outbreak. Excerpt:

Health officials in rural Haiti are investigating a possible disease outbreak that could be responsible for dozens of deaths and a surge in hospital patients, U.N. aid workers said Wednesday.

Haitian government officials say at least 19 people have died after suffering brief bouts of fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea, with dozens of more deaths suspected. Most are reportedly children.

Hundreds of patients reporting those symptoms have overwhelmed a hospital in the seaside town of St. Marc, some 45 miles (about 70 kilometers) north of the capital of Port-au-Prince, Catherine Huck, country deputy for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told The Associated Press.

“I’ll look for more details in the morning,” I wrote, blissfully ignorant of what I was letting myself in for.

Since October 2010 cholera has receded from the western consciousness. It’s now endemic in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but no real threat to North Americans’ peace of mind. The same will not be true of Ebola; it may become endemic, but the chance of its escaping West Africa to Europe or Asia or the Americas will generate many alarming headlines for years to come. Just as cholera has inspired countless “Poor Haiti” storoes, we can look forward to any number of Poor Guinea/Liberia/Sierra Leone reports as social disorder becomes yet more ingrained in those unlucky countries.

It is not a pleasant prospect.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

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