Haiti and Nepal, after major earthquake a risk for cholera
The earthquake has set up a scenario precluding the start of a cholera epidemic. Migratory survivors of the quake, living in streets or a shelter, cause disorder in water and sanitation systems' normal operations. Once underway, cholera's symptomatic and incessant diarrhea pollutes the water supply, setting the stage for more people and communities to become infected.
An ironic aspect of Nepal's potential cholera crisis is Nepalese UN peacekeepers brought cholera to Mirebalais, Haiti following its 2010 earthquake. Haiti's cholera epidemic spread like wildfire, blanketing the entire island. In contrast to Nepal, who has been dealing with cholera since 1823, Haiti hadn't logged any cases of it during modern times. The latest figures on Haiti's cholera epidemic from the Pan-American Health Organization report 730,000-plus Haitians have fallen prey to the disease, with almost 9,000 killed.
Several non-government organizations such as International Medical Corps are hurrying to deliver water-purification kits and other sanitation supplies to victimized communities. A cholera vaccine exists but production can't keep pace with demand. The international inventory could vaccinate 100,000 to 200,000 Nepalese and keep the lid on cholera's spread. But the problem is the vaccine's manufacturer can only produce 2 to 3 million doses per year, and Nepal has a population of 28 million.
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