Via MSF's email newsletter: Haiti: 900 treated in 2 days in cholera outbreak. Excerpt:
In Port-au-Prince, 34 people suffering from diarrhea presented at MSF facilities in the city. Cases of acute watery diarrhea that did not involve cholera have not been uncommon in Port-au-Prince since the Jan. 12 earthquake. MSF teams have treated many people with acute watery diarrhea in the intervening months.
Regardless, MSF has a 20-bed cholera treatment centre in place and is undertaking necessary measures and preparations at its Port-au-Prince facilities for any additional patients who arrive with cholera-like symptoms. Confirming cholera requires lab testing, but the treatment for cholera and acute watery diarrhea are the same, beginning with rehydration.
"The best way to contain the spread of cholera is through prevention, and ensuring that people have access to clean drinking water," says Dr. David Olson, MSF medical adviser and cholera specialist in Haiti. "In refugee settings in conflict areas, people are forced to seek water wherever they can find it. In many of the displacement camps in Port-au-Prince, people are provided with water that is less likely to be contaminated. This will hopefully mitigate the threat."
In all, MSF has treated almost 2,000 people for acute watery diarrhea in the last few days. Two additional cholera treatment centres are being constructed in the capital and another is being built in the town of Leogane.
Soon, MSF will have 800 beds available for the treatment of cholera patients, should the outbreak spread. All normal activities, including postoperative care, maternal care, secondary care, surgery and mental health programs, are continuing without interruption as well.