Cholera outbreak renewed in Haiti

By June 7, 2011

Haiti (MNN) — Just months after the devastating 2010 earthquake, an epidemic of cholera killed over 5,000 people in Haiti. By February of 2011, cases of cholera had substantially subsided; but since mid-May, the cholera outbreak has taken a turn for the worse.

A resurgence of the disease has been reported in several areas. Doctors Without Borders reports treating 2,000 cholera patients last week in the capital city alone.

Cholera is easily preventable and treatable. Would-be victims can avoid the diarrhea-inducing disease by drinking only treated water and taking care to adhere to good hygiene standards. If contracted, it can be treated with Oral Rehydration Solution or other rehydrating options. But if it goes untreated, cholera kill its victims within 12 hours.

The current upswing in cholera cases has caused enough alarm for an HCJB Global Hands team from Ecuador to pack up and head to Haiti. The team left on Saturday to help treat patients at a Samaritan's Purse facility in Cite Soleil.

The 200-bed cholera center was put up near a tent city in response to the January 2010 earthquake. By May 31, the triage tent was completely full. Other hospitals have been calling the center, desperate to transfer patients to them.

Most other groups who helped fight the epidemic late last year have long since left the country, believing the outbreak to be over.

The HCJB Global doctors will be able to help with the overflow of victims while in Haiti. American doctor Dr. Mark Nelson urges prayer "that our team would work well together, and for strength and wisdom in dealing with patients and complex cases.

Pray also that the physicians would be intentional about sharing Christ's love, hope, and healing with patients as they recover.

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