CPS maintains vigilance during holiday season;

Persons advised to take precautionary measures if traveling to Hispanola for holiday season

The Collective Preventive Services (CPS) which is part of the Ministry of Public Health, says its travel advisory to Hispanola remains in force due to the cholera outbreak.

Persons who plan to visit Hispanola during the holiday season are advised to take preventive measures. Ensure taking vital precautions such as ensuring hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water.  

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The CPS continues to monitor the situation in Hispanola very closely with the assistance of the family physicians and its weekly syndromic surveillance system.

Family physicians are on alert to report any symptoms of cholera especially of persons who have traveled to Hispanola within the seven days of onset.

There have been more than 2000 deaths and over 25,000 hospitalizations and over 60,000 hospital visits in Haiti related to cholera.

Cholera is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours.

About 75 per cent of people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their feces for seven to 14 days after infection and are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people.

Cholera is transmitted through fecal contamination of water and food. In places where there is infrastructure damage, the lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene can increase the risk of cholera, as well as numerous other diarrhea diseases.

Cholera is easily treatable, and if patients are given oral re-hydration salts promptly to replace lost fluids, and they can nearly always be cured.

In a small percentage of people, cholera can cause very severe dehydration potentially leading to death. To minimize the number of people infected, frequent hand washing, personal hygiene, safe water use and food preparation are a necessity.

By taking a few basic precautions, cholera as well as most other food and water-borne diseases can easily be prevented. The main rule is, always be aware of the quality of what you eat and drink when you are traveling to Hispanola.