Tag Archives | Cholera

Why can’t we stop cholera in Haiti?

Blue Skyz Studios (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Blue Skyz Studios (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

An outbreak of cholera in Haiti that began in 2010 is still killing people. Why have attempts to get it under control failed? Rose George reports.

In early February, when Jenniflore Abelard* arrived at her parents’ house high in the hills of Port-au-Prince, her father Johnson* was home. He was lying in the yard, under a tree, vomiting. When Jenniflore spoke to him, his responses, between retches, sounded strange: “nasal, like his voice was coming out of his nose”. He talked “like a zombie”. This is a powerful image to use in Haiti, where voodoo is practised and where the supernatural doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it might elsewhere. Her father’s eyes were sunk back into his head. She was shocked, but she knew what this was, because she has lived through the past five years in Haiti. She has lived through the time of kolera.… Read the rest

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Panic over Ebola echoes the 19th-century fear of cholera

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Sally Sheard, University of Liverpool

On October 19 an inspector sent north from London to Sunderland reported a long-awaited arrival: the first British case of cholera. It was 1831 and as part of a second pandemic cholera had again progressed from its Bengal heartland through Europe, before reaching the Baltic ports. It was only a matter of time.

Broadsheet warning in 1831. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY-NC-SA

The British public, informed by newspaper reports, were acquainted with the symptoms: profuse watery diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and often death within a matter of hours. In advance of its arrival in Russia thousands fled from the cities. In Poland it was killing one in two victims. And unlike today, where oral rehydration solution can prevent dehydration and shock, there was no effective treatment.

Cholera was (and is) caused by vibrio cholerae bacteria and spread by poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water.… Read the rest

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UN Forces Spread Deadly ‘Superbug’ Strain Of Cholera

UN peacekeeper in Haiti. Photo: Robert Miller (CC)

UN peacekeeper in Haiti. Photo: Robert Miller (CC)

As if Haiti didn’t have enough problems already… From ABC News:

Compelling new scientific evidence suggests United Nations peacekeepers have carried a virulent strain of cholera — a super bug — into the Western Hemisphere for the first time.

The vicious form of cholera has already killed 7,000 people in Haiti, where it surfaced in a remote village in October 2010. Leading researchers from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere told ABC News that, despite UN denials, there is now a mountain of evidence suggesting the strain originated in Nepal, and was carried to Haiti by Nepalese soldiers who came to Haiti to serve as UN peacekeepers after the earthquake that ravaged the country on Jan. 12, 2010 — two years ago today. Haiti had never seen a case of cholera until the arrival of the peacekeepers, who allegedly failed to maintain sanitary conditions at their base.

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