Red alert issued in Haiti following cholera cases

Courtesy of the CDC
A surge of cholera has been reported in Haiti, prompting officials last week to issue a red alert in the country.

The Ministry of Health reported that cholera has infected 22,511 people through Sept. 30 this year, resulting in 185 fatalities. In the past week, the southeastern part of the country reported 268 cases. The country reported more than 745,000 cholera cases between October 2010 and August 2015; approximately 57 percent of these patients were hospitalized and 8,965 people died from the disease.

Cholera is an intestinal infection that presents itself with diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate and low blood pressure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 10 cases is considered severe and can lead to renal failure or coma. If left untreated, the disease can lead to death from severe dehydration.

The disease is spread through food and water that is contaminated with infected human waste. It is more common in areas without access to regular sanitation or waste disposal services. Many people in Haiti's rural areas have no access to safe water, and only 25 percent have access to health care services, the government reports.

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