WHO press notes on cholera in Haiti (11 Oct 2016)

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 11 Oct 2016

The name of the WHO expert is Dr Dominique Legros, WHO Cholera focal point.

WHO is concerned about risk of increased cases of cholera in Haiti as a result of the hurricane.

Cholera situation: an increase of cases in Grand’Anse ( 148 cases) , Sud ( 53 cases, and North- Ouest ( 6 cases) , and 28 cases reported in Artibonite

WHO and PAHO are increasing surveillance and advising the government on adapting their cholera plan to take into account effects of the hurricane.

  • Delivery of medicines and supplies for cholera treatment as well as cholera 70 beds to Randel

  • Replenishment of emergency care service of Saint Antoine hospital in Jerimie with emergency kits

  • Assessing the state of the health infrastructure: A total of 35 of 197 health facilities including hospitals, clinics , Cholera Treatment Centres were affected by the floods, and heavy winds in the following departments: Grand’Anse, Nippes, Nord- Ouest, Sud and Sud- Est

  • The most important way to combat cholera is to identify and treat people who are sick. If diagnosed early and treatment available, cholera is a curable disease. Vaccination would be a second line of defence.

More than 80 PAHO /WHO staff members were deployed across the region to respond to hurricane Mathew.

Even without hurricane, peak of cholera transmission in Haiti is from November to January (rainy season).

Their urgent priorities are:

  • Restore health care capacity to facilitate access to health care services , including cholera treatment and emergency care and treatment for chronic conditions,

  • Reinforce epidemiological surveillance,

  • Increase vector control and ensure water quality and sanitation as well as community promotion campaigns in order to prevent probable increase of transmissible diseases,

  • Ensure a rapid and effective response to cholera outbreak,

  • Water and sanitation interventions: access to safe water, and safe disposal of excreta.

Background:

  • Since 2010 until now, Haiti has reported almost 800 000 cases of cholera , including 9,300 deaths.

  • In 2014, an average of 559 cases of cholera per week , 693 per week in 2015 but significantly lower than the average 6,766 cases per week reported in 2011.

  • For 2016, 29,000 cases have been reported (771 cases per week)

  • Before the hurricane, 12 municipalities and 4 departments (Grand’ Anse, Ouest, Artibonite and Nord) had already had multiple localized outbreaks.

  • PAHO/WHO & UNICEF alongside the Haitian Ministry of Health have vaccinated more than 400,000 Haitians since 2013, including 118,000 so far in 2016.

To get prepared, WHO is sending 1 million doses of the Oral Cholera Vaccine to Haiti. Discussions will take place between the Haitian government, WHO and their partners on the feasibility of a vaccination campaign. The most important line of defence against cholera is to provide clean water to people, and improve sanitation.