Cholera Epidemic in Mexico, Same Strain that Arrived in Haiti

The cholera outbreak hit Haiti in October 2010. It claimed lives of 8,413 Haitians and threatened the health of more than 600,000 people in Haiti. Mexico has recently reported 171 cases of cholera epidemic with same strain that arrived in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba three years ago.


The health officials of Mexico first picked up the problem through routine surveillance of severe diarrhea cases in the states of Mexico, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz between Sept. 9 and Oct. 18. One victim has died already and 39 other cases have required hospitalization.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection. It makes people sick by drinking or eating contaminated water or food and can be life-threatening. Once infected, the human body reacts with fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The genetic profile of the bacterium obtained from patients in Mexico is similar with the strain that is currently circulating in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba and is different from the one that had been circulating in Mexico during 1991-2001 epidemic. The PAHO or Pan American Health Organization has warned that this illness can spread anytime worldwide from this continent's mainland.

There is no acceptable explanation on how the disease travelled from Indian subcontinent 9,000 miles away other than the poorly maintained leaking sewage system in the housing complex of U.N Nepalese peacekeeping team. The neighboring Dominican Republic reported the presence of the epidemic soon after. At this point, Dominican Republic counts 458 deaths and more than 31,000 registered cases. The disease then invaded Cuba via infected health personnel working in Haiti who again exported the disease to Venezuela, Chile, Germany, Italy and Holland via visiting vacationers. But so far, it has not reached any outbreak level.

The poorest people who live in the most dire of health conditions are mainly vulnerable to the deadly virus of cholera (bacterium Vibrio cholerae). According to WHO 20% of the cholera cases become severe.

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