- According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. They estimate that each year there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21 000 to 143 000 cases worldwide due to cholera.¹
- Most of those infected will have no or mild symptoms and can be successfully treated with oral rehydration solution. Severe cases will need rapid treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. And if left untreated, cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours.²
- In Haiti, confirmed cholera cases are reported in new areas of the capital and in additional departments. As of 14 December 2022, the Department of Epidemiology, Laboratories, and Research (DELR) confirmed 1,291 cases of cholera in nine departments. 962 (74.5%) of confirmed cases were reported in the Ouest Department, followed by 156 in Centre and 54 in Sud Est. 15,400 suspected cases have been reported in all 10 departments of the country since the first cases were reported on 2 October.³
- According to WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Record from 2018, globally in 2017, countries provided data on cholera to WHO, the case fatality rate (CFR) was 0.5%. African countries had the highest CFR, ranging from 0.2% to as high as 6.8% in Chad. In the same year, U.S. had 9 out 11 imported cases of cholera and 0 reported death. With a 1.2 CFR that year, Haiti reported 13 681 cases and 159 deaths.⁴ Under comparison, the CFR among suspected cases had risen to 2% as of 14 December 2022 in Haiti.³
- Based on the information provided by the Ministry of Public Health and Population of Haiti, from 14 December, 58.77% of reported suspected cases are male, 41.23% female. Among the 1,291 confirmed cases, age groups 1-4 (18.8%) and 30-39 (14.15%) are the most affected.
- As the complex humanitarian and socio-political crisis continues in Haiti, high levels of insecurity, fuel shortages and economic instability limit access to health and basic water and sanitation services and disrupt food and water supplies. Local health authorities and NGOs have identified the following priorities to reduce morbidity and mortality,⁴
- Medical and non-medical supplies for case management, including Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), Ringer Lactate solution, cholera beds and WASH supplies.
- Human resources, whose availability is limited in the country due to the security situation.
- Laboratory reagents and Rapid Diagnostic Tests for the investigation and confirmation of cholera cases.
- Access to safe drinking water and improved hygiene and sanitation.
By Shu-Ping (Jennifer) Chen
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Cholera – General Information. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/general/index.html
- World Health Organization. (2022). Cholera. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cholera
- Pan American Health Organization. (2022). Cholera outbreak in Hispaniola 2022 – Situation Report 9. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from https://www.paho.org/en/documents/cholera-outbreak-hispaniola-2022-situation-report-9
- World Health Organization. (2018). Weekly Epidemiological Record, 2018, vol. 93, 38 [full issue]. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/274654