The Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) has advised countries in the Caribbean Region that cholera (Vibrio cholerae 01) was recently confirmed among persons in the Artibonite province of Haiti, a rural part of the country that has absorbed thousands of refugees since the earthquake in January 2010. ??
Residents of Barbados who may have recently travelled to Haiti or have been in contact with anyone who has recently been in Haiti should be aware of the symptoms of cholera. They include severe watery diarrhoea and vomiting; and can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.??
The Ministry of Health is taking steps to ensure that medical staff is familiar with the symptoms and management of cholera and has increased surveillance of travellers from Haiti at ports of entry. However, proof of cholera vaccination is not required as a condition for entry.
???? ???????????? The Ministry of Health is advising travellers from Barbados to discontinue non-essential travel to Haiti until the situation improves.?? However, anyone who must travel to Haiti is advised, where possible, to take their own supply of drinking water.?? The following precautions are also recommended for persons travelling to Haiti:
- Drink water that you have boiled for at least three to four minutes, or treated with two 2 drops of household bleach per litre of water (six drops per gallon of water) and let stand for half an hour before use. Other safe beverages include tea and
coffee made with boiled or treated water, as well as drinks that have been bottled and sealed (such as bottled water, carbonated drinks, and sports drinks).
- Do not put ice in drinks.
- Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself.
- Do not eat undercooked or raw fish or shellfish, including ceviche.
- Make sure all vegetables are cooked. Do not eat salads or other raw vegetables.
- Do not eat foods or drink beverages from street vendors.
- Do not bring seafood back to Barbados.
The Ministry of Health has stated, A simple rule of thumb for safe food and water is "Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it."
Cholera is a disease caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.?? Most cases can be treated with oral rehydration salts, though more severe cases need hospitalisation with intravenous fluids and appropriate antibiotics.?? As of October 25, 2010, the Pan American Health Organization reported 3342 confirmed cases of cholera and 259 deaths.