Photo: Cholera Outbreak
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an outbreak of cholera has been ongoing in the Dominican Republic since November 2010.
Cases continue to remain at elevated levels. The provinces with the highest number of cases in September 2011 were San Juan, Santo Domingo, and the National District. Dominican Republic authorities are taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease. The risk of cholera for travelers to the Dominican Republic is likely very low if precautions are taken. Travelers should consume only safe food and water.
Cholera is a bacterial disease that can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Cholera is most often spread through the ingestion of contaminated food or drinking water. Water may be contaminated by the feces of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or by being handled by a person ill with cholera.
How can Travelers Protect themselves?
Most travelers are not at high risk for getting cholera, but people who are traveling to the Dominican Republic should exercise caution to avoid getting sick.
CDC recommends that all travelers prepare a travel health kit when going abroad. If you are planning travel to the Dominican Republic, CDC advises packing the following supplies in your travel health kit to help prevent cholera and to treat it.
* A prescription antibiotic to take in case of diarrhea
* Water purification tablets
* Oral rehydration salts
Although no cholera vaccine is available in the United States, travelers can prevent cholera by following these 5 basic steps:1) Drink and use safe water*
1) Drink and use safe water
2) Wash your hands often with soap and safe water
3) Use toilets; do not defecate in any body of water
4) Cook food well (especially seafood), keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruits and vegetables
5) Clean up safely—in the kitchen and in places where the family bathes and washes clothes.