Cholera: CPS Recommends to Travelers to Haiti and Dominican Republic continue to exercise caution

The Collective Preventive Services (CPS) which is part of the Ministry of Public Health, continues to recommend for persons traveling to Hispanola (Haiti, Dominican Republic) to continue to be cautious with respect to Cholera.


Travelers to the Dominican Republic are strongly advised to follow basic hygienic habits while in one of the aforementioned countries.

According to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the total number of cases in Haiti since October 2010 to mid-August 2013 has reached 671,033 of which 372,241 were hospitalized (55 per cent) and 8,231 died.

Since October 2012, a decreasing trend in the nationwide number of cases and deaths has been observed with the exception of the first quarter of 2013 when compared with the same period in 2012 showed an increase in cases from the departments of Artibonite, Centre and Nord.

In the Dominican Republic, since the beginning of the epidemic in November 2010 through July 2013, the total number of suspected cholera cases reported was 30,681, of which 454 died. The Dominican Republic also reported an increase in cases for the first quarter of 2013.

As part of the Minister’s ‘Get Checked,’ campaign, travelers who return to the island and display symptoms of cholera are strongly advised to get checked by visiting their family physician.

CPS continues to maintain PAHO recommendations which were reiterated recently to maintain in place surveillance activities to detect the occurrence of outbreaks and implementing intervention actions to reduce cholera spread determinants.

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

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.

While in the Dominican Republic ensure that you take vital precautions such as hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water.

Symptoms can occur within 24 to 48 hours of being infected with the cholera causing bacteria. Cholera symptoms are generally mild; they include diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle cramps. About one infected person out of 20 has severe signs and symptoms, such as increased heart rate, dehydration, and shock. Immediately consult your physician if you have travelled and have any of the symptoms, while maintaining proper hygiene.

To minimize the number of people infected, frequent hand washing, personal hygiene, safe water use and food preparation are a necessity. Maintain these basic hygienic habits as you travel.

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. Enjoy and keep safe as you travel and help us keep Sint Maarten Cholera Free!