Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Outbreak notice: November 28, 2012
What is the Current Situation?
An outbreak of cholera has been ongoing in the Dominican Republic since November 2010. According to the Dominican Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud Publica y Asistencia Social [MSP]), as of November 3, 2012, 6,622 suspected cholera cases and 47 suspected cholera-related deaths have been reported for 2012.
What is Cholera?
Cholera is a bacterial disease that can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Cholera is most often spread through the ingestion of contaminated food or drinking water. Water may be contaminated by the feces of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or by being handled by a person ill with cholera.
How can Travelers Protect themselves?
Most travelers are not at high risk for getting cholera, but people who are traveling to the Dominican Republic should exercise caution to avoid getting sick.
CDC recommends that all travelers prepare a travel health kit when going abroad. If you are planning travel to the Dominican Republic, CDC advises packing the following supplies in your travel health kit to help prevent cholera and to treat it.
- A prescription antibiotic to take in case of diarrhea
- Water purification tablets
- Oral rehydration salts
Dukoral vaccine is not available in USA but is available in Canada.
- Drink and use safe water*
- Wash your hands often with soap and safe water*
- Use toilets; do not defecate in any body of water
- Cook food well (especially seafood), keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruits and vegetables ( Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it.)
- Clean up safely in the kitchen and in places where the family bathes and washes clothes
Before departing for the Dominican Republic, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for an antibiotic. If you get sick with diarrhea while you are in the Dominican Republic, you can take the antibiotic, as prescribed. Also, remember to drink fluids and use oral rehydration salts (ORS) to prevent dehydration.
If you have severe watery diarrhea, seek medical care right away.