Cholera outbreak in Haiti
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I’m sure that everyone has been following the emerging epidemic of cholera in Haiti this past week. Over 3000 cases have been reported, with 259 deaths (almost 10% mortality rate) as new deaths were reported in the capital of Port Au Prince. Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by the Gram negative Vibrio cholerae, which produces a potent exotoxin. Cholera toxin affects the cells of the intestinal tract, and causes the body to lose tremendous amounts of water from the intestines into the bowel resulting in a characteristic “rice-water stool.” The only effective treatment for cholera is fluid replacement therapy and waiting out the infection, but if the fluid replacement is not accomplished in time fluid loss can result in fatal dehydration.
Although this is a very significant epidemic and Haiti is only a few hundred miles from the mainland United States, public health officials in Florida are not concerned about spreading of the outbreak into the U.S. Why do you think this is so?
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