Cholera Cases Spread in Dominican Republic

Dominican authorities announced they have three confirmed cases of cholera – including a three-month-old girl – and are looking into whether an additional 13 people have come down with the disease.

The confirmed cases include an elderly women and her granddaughter. Both are hospitalized and undergoing treatment but “out of danger,” Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gómez said today, according to the Spanish news service, Efe.

The new cases come three days after the Dominican Republic confirmed its first cholera case, a 32-year-old Haitian man who works in the construction industry in Punta Cana.

That man’s diagnosis triggered alarm in the country, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti – which is reeling from the disease that has killed over 1,100 and sickened close to 18,000.The Dominican president, Leonel Fernández, met with top government officials this week then set in place a series of stringent measures to prevent the spread of cholera.

The country’s national laboratory is waiting on results of tests to determine whether an additional 13 to 14 people will test positive for cholera. The sick include a 3-year-old boy who tested positive in preliminary tests, but the swabs need to go through additional testing, according to the Dominican national paper, Listin Diario.

Authorities are also awaiting tests from a Haitian man who recently returned from visiting relatives in Chile, via Panama, and began exhibiting symptoms – he was vomiting and had diarrhea. The man, who is in stable condition, is in a Dominican hospital where bleach-soaked rags have been placed on the floor of his doorway to disinfect anyone who comes in and out, the newspaper said.

Gómez also said health officials are going house to house to check whether anyone has diarrhea – and passing out flyers so every family knows what symptoms to look for, and what to take in case they become dehydrated. Each case of diarrhea will be reported to the health department and will be monitored, the newspaper said.

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