Haiti’s Rainy Season Brings Cholera Back to Port-au-Prince and Léogâne
With the rainy season now underway in Haiti, MSF has seen an increase in the number of cholera patients. Admissions to MSF’s treatment centers in Port-au-Prince and Léogâne have more than tripled in less than one month.
New patients arrive daily at MSF’s cholera treatment centers (CTCs). A woman named Marie was admitted to the Martissant CTC on April 16. “I had diarrhea and was vomiting a lot, then I fainted,” she recounted. “A relative brought me here because it is the center closest to where I live. The doctors told me that I had cholera and was dehydrated.” One hundred thirty-four other people like Marie arrived at the MSF center in Martissant between April 16 and 23 and nearly 400 more went to MSF’s other CTCs in Port-au-Prince and Léogâne.
“Cholera is easy to treat but specialized treatment centers must be accessible and patients must be brought there as soon as possible once symptoms appear,” says Dr. Sophie Duterne, MSF’s medical coordinator in Haiti. “If left untreated, this disease can kill within a few hours. Treatment involves simple oral or intravenous rehydration, with antibiotics for the most severe cases. However, taking additional hygiene precautions and drinking disinfected water is still the best protection.” Since the first cases were identified in October 2010, more than 500,000 Haitians have contracted cholera.
Photo: Haiti 2012 © Mathieu Fortoul/MSF
Cholera patients recover in MSF’s Martissant CTC.