The cholera epidemic has now reached Port-au-Prince, according to Haitian government health officials. Over 70 cases have been identified in people who live in Port-au-Prince, but contracted the disease while visiting outside the capital. Several cases have been reported in patients who have not left the capital city, which means that it was acquired there, rather than in the area where the epidemic began. This is a serious development, because it means that the bacteria causing cholera is now in Port-au-Prince itself. Officials are setting up cholera centers throughout the city and clinics and hospitals are gearing up to handle the epidemic. Flooding from the recent hurricane, Tomas, will only add to the risk of spread of the disease.
At this time, there are no reported cases of cholera in the Grand’Anse department where we are located. We’re taking the epidemic seriously, however, and are augmenting our own stock of antibiotics, oral rehydration packets and IV fluids in preparation. Each time we go up to our clinic, we do health teaching with our patients, instructing them to be careful about the water they drink and to practice good hygiene and hand-washing. We also have several hundred “hygiene kits” that we will distribute in our area, if needed. We appreciate your prayers as we attempt to deal with this new crisis.