In its 1 December travel notice to US travelers, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it has not issued any travel warning for visitors to the Dominican Republic because “the risk of cholera for travelers to the DR “is likely very low if appropriate precautions are taken”.
It has been reported that between November 16th and December 3rd, Dominican Republic health officials confirmed 13 cases of cholera in the country, following the outbreak of the disease in Haiti and its spread due to the lack of sanitation facilities.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. It has a short incubation period, from two hours to five days, and produces an enterotoxin that causes a painless, watery diarrhea. Hydration treatment needs to be administered promptly because the danger is not from the diarrhea, but instead from the dehydration it causes. Children and the elderly are especially at risk.
Protesters in Haiti have blamed Nepalese peacekeeping troops for bringing cholera to the country.
The CDC calls for caution to travelers and advises these to follow five simple steps to prevent cholera:
1. Drink and use safe water
2. Wash your hands often with soap and safe water
3. Use toilets; do not defecate in any body of water
4. Cook food well (especially seafood), keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruits and vegetables
5. Clean up safelyoin the kitchen and in places where the family bathes and washes clothes.