DR: atypical case of cholera

Writing in Listin Diario, Doris Panteleon reports that the cholera epidemic in the Dominican Republic is not behaving as predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the local Public Health authorities.

According to the report, the WHO estimate was that within the first 30 days after the first case was reported, the Dominican Republic would be facing between 5,000 and 20,000 possible cases of cholera, as has happened in many other countries. An outbreak on this scale would have serious effects on health and educational services, according to Percy Minaya, the regional consultant for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

The specialists are saying that no country has behaved like the Dominican Republic, since normally the first case appears and then a major outbreak. They cautioned that vigilance should not be lowered, because the actions by the authorities have worked in containing the spread of the disease. They stress that the precautionary measures must be kept in place, because a larger outbreak could occur at any time.

Several more cases of cholera were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the formal total to 32 cases. Two of the cases appeared in Hato del Yaque, one of the focus points, and another in Comendador, in Elias Pina, along the frontier, and another focal point of the disease. The other case was found in Loma de Cabrera in the border province of Dajabon, yet another focus point of the epidemic. The two cases in Santiago involved a 13-year old boy and a 63-year old woman. In Elias Pina, the victim was a 19-year old male and in Dajabon a 49-year old man.

The Public Health Ministry has instituted strict health surveillance in the whole country, according to El Nuevo Diario, especially in Santiago, and Elias Pina where most of the cholera cases have been found. Cholera has been linked to people consuming polluted water in Santiago and the border areas.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, one case has been reported in Dajabon, seven in Elias Pina, one in San Juan, one in Jimani, all border provinces with Haiti. Also one case in Mao, 14 in Santiago, six in Santo Domingo and one in Higuey.

For impact on travelers, see www.dr1.com/travelnews/archive/2010/tnews120710.html