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Educational posters on prevention and treatment will be displayed at polling places

Washington, D.C., November 25, 2010 (PAHO) — Going forward with elections in Haiti this Sunday is not expected to increase the spread of cholera, a top official at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) said today.

Cholera is transmitted almost exclusively through fecal contamination of water and food, noted Dr. Jon K. Andrus, PAHO’s Deputy Director. Cholera is not a communicable disease, such as influenza or the common cold, which can be passed among people in close contact via coughs or sneezes.

“The kind of movement and congregating you see with people going to vote is not the kind of movement that creates an increased risk of cholera transmission,” Andrus said. “Close contact does not put people at greater risk of cholera the way it would, for example, for flu.”

Cholera has spread rapidly in Haiti due to poor sanitation and water infrastructure as well as associated behaviors such as defecating in the open instead of in a latrine, Andrus said.

To stem cholera’s spread, health and relief workers have been working to provide potable water supplies and chlorine tablets to Haitian families and communities. They have also been distributing oral rehydration salts, which can prevent severe illness and death from cholera if administered promptly.

In addition, the Haitian government is disseminating prevention messages through the mass media and through public education materials that encourage hand washing, safe food handling and prompt treatment for people who have symptoms.

To further encourage prevention, PAHO/WHO is providing 22,000 educational posters for distribution to voting places around the country. The posters, produced in collaboration with Haiti’s Ministry of Health, describe how to prevent cholera and what to do if one becomes ill. They are being distributed by the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as part of its efforts to support the elections.


Meanwhile, the cholera epidemic continues to spread, and Haiti’s Ministry of Health has confirmed cases in all 10 of the country’s departments. PAHO/WHO experts believe that official case counts significantly undercount cholera’s toll, due to gaps in the surveillance system.
PAHO/WHO’s country office in Port-au-Prince has reported that the spreading epidemic has put increased pressure on newly established Cholera Treatment Centers, which are intended to provide medical care for severe cases. More work needs to be done at the family and community level to encourage treatment at home with oral rehydration salts or at a local community health center, to prevent cases from becoming too severe.

PAHO/WHO is coordinating with dozens of other international and nongovernmental organizations in the response to cholera to ensure the prompt acquisition and distribution of medical supplies. Last weekend, PAHO/WHO, in coordination with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and the World Food Program, distributed 87 tons of essential medicines and supplies via truck and helicopter in nine departments of the country. The supplies were intended to replenished stocks in areas already affected by the epidemic and to prepositioned supplies sufficient to treat about one-third of the expected cases during the coming months. This week, PAHO/WHO and its partners have been distributing medical supplies to 23 hospitals and health centers in metropolitan Port-au-Prince.

PAHO/WHO is also providing training, technical cooperation and expertise to Haiti’s Ministry of Health and other partners in areas including epidemiology and surveillance, logistics, case management, laboratory, water and sanitation, and risk communication.

PAHO recently sent an alert to health officials in other Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean urging them to take steps to prepare for the possible arrival of cholera. PAHO recommended stepped-up surveillance, preparedness planning, improvements in water and sanitation, and increased public education.


Contact: Donna Eberwine-Villagran, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,  Tel. +1 202 974 3122 • Mob. +1 202 316 5469, or Daniel Epstein, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Tel. +1 202 974 3459 • Mob. +1 202 316 5679, Knowledge Management and Communication Area, PAHO/WHO – www.paho.org

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Last Updated on Monday, 29 November 2010 10:35


2014

PAHO year in review: 2014 public health highlights in the Americas (12/24/2014)

years end-150The year 2014 was marked by progress as well as significant challenges for public health in the Americas. The region's countries advanced toward goals including universal health coverage, expanded access to vaccination, and ensuring that fewer babies are born with HIV. They also confronted major new challenges, including the arrival and spread of the chikungunya virus and the need to prepare for the possible imported cases of Ebola.

PAHO/WHO provides training in risk communication for possible Ebola introduction (12/09/2014)

Mesa directiva

Professionals from 11 countries of the Americas are in Quito, Ecuador, this week for a training workshop on risk communication organized by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). The two-day workshop (December 9 and 10) is part of efforts to ensure that countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are prepared to respond effectively to potential imported cases of Ebola and other public health emergencies.

Avoiding local transmission of Ebola is the goal in Latin America and the Caribbean (11/10/2014)

Dr. Espinal, Director of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis

The Director of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Dr. Marcos Espinal, said that preventing local transmission of Ebola is the main goal in preparing for the eventual arrival of cases of the disease in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ebola: PAHO/WHO briefs health authorities on support for preparedness in the Americas (11/06/2014)

PAHO/WHO mobilizes Ebola preparedness teams in Latin America and the Caribbean (11/03/2014)

Countries of the Americas plan for possible Ebola introduction (10/31/2014)

PAHO Director Urges Countries of the Americas to Prepare for Early Identification of Possible Ebola Cases (10/27/2014)

Health officials briefed on Ebola and chikungunya during 53rd PAHO Directing Council (10/02/2014)

First imported Ebola case is reported in the Americas (10/01/2014)

PAHO Director briefs OAS envoys on Ebola in Africa and chikungunya in the Americas (09/25/2014)

WHO statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (09/22/2014)

WHO welcomes the extensive Ebola support from the United States of America (09/17/2014)

WHO welcomes Cuban doctors for Ebola response in West Africa (09/12/2014)

PAHO urges countries to eliminate mosquito breeding sites to prevent the spread of dengue and chikungunya (09/10/2014)

Statement on the WHO Consultation on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines (09/05/2014)

Ebola Virus Disease: Occupational Safety and Health (08/29/2014)

WHO issues "roadmap" to scale up international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (08/28/2014)

PAHO Calls on the Countries of the Americas to Remain on Guard against the Ebola Virus despite a Climate of Calm (08/28/2014)

Unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola (08/27/2014)

WHO-deployed health worker receiving care after testing positive for Ebola (08/26/2014)

Anecdotal evidence about experimental therapies (08/25/2014)

Why the Ebola outbreak has been underestimated (08/25/2014)

Travel and Transport in Relation to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak (08/18/2014)

Ethical considerations for use of unregistered interventions for Ebola virus disease (EVD) (08/11/2014)

PAHO/WHO urges the countries of the Americas to be vigilant and prepared for potential introduction of Ebola virus (08/10/2014)

“The Ebola epidemic is a serious public health problem, but it can still be controlled” (08/05/2014)

Número especial en periódico internacional sobre leptospirosis en la interface animal-humano-ecosistema (07/25/2014)

Dominican Republic is first country in the Americas to publish guidelines for clinical management of chikungunya (07/17/2014)

El Instituto Nacional para Síntesis Matemática y Biológica (NIMBioS) organizó taller para modelaje matemática de leptospirosis (06/10/2014)

Polio declared public health emergency of international concern under International Health Regulations (05/05/2014)

Countries of the Americas share risk of antibiotic resistance, must act now to protect health (04/29/2014)

Países de América debaten en Buenos Aires sobre la implementación del Reglamento Sanitario Internacional (04/29/2014)

Water and sanitation improvements remain key to defeating cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (03/21/2014)

Haiti partners see progress, challenges in cholera control (02/05/2014)

2013

Representatives from the Ministries of Health met to discuss coordination and operational aspects of cholera prevention and control in the Subregion (12/09/2013)

Poster sobre leptospirosis gana premio en el Fórum de “Una Salud” en Davos, Suiza (11/22/2013)

Sesión sobre leptospirosis advoca por el enfoque de “Una Salud” para la reducción del impacto de los brotes (11/22/2013)

Simulacro de Leptospirosis en Choluteca, Honduras (10/31/2013)

Experts urge more WATSAN investments to halt cholera in Haiti, prevent its spread to more countries (10/25/2013)

USAID and World Vision join coalition to eliminate cholera from Haiti and the Dominican Republic (06/28/2013)

Experts in leptospirosis meet in Brasilia (04/15/2013)

2012

International Health Leaders Pledge to Work Together to Eliminate Cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (10/16/2012)

2011

Llamado a la acción: La Hispaniola libre del cólera (12/28/2011)

Técnicos evaluaron respuesta y desafíos a un año de la epidemia de cólera en República Dominicana (12/07/2011)

Puerto Rico Presents Pilot Project for the Prevention and Control of Dengue (11/23/2011)

Journalism Award Winners Focus on Drug Resistance in Latin America (08/17/2011)

Haití condecora a la OPS/OMS por labor durante brote de cólera (04/20/2011)

Experts Warn of “Untreatable Infections” (04/05/2011)

Response to Cholera in Belle Fontaine, Haiti (01/28/2011)

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Key to Control Cholera Epidemic in Haiti (01/10/2011)

2010

Experts to Discuss Cholera Vaccination in the Americas (12/15/2010)

Se prepara Plan de Contingencia ante la amenaza de un posible brote de Cólera en Guatemala (12/03/2010)

Cases Continue to Climb, But Fewer Patients are Dying from Cholera (12/02/2010)

National Day of Education and Prevention of Cholera in the Dominican Republic (12/01/2010)

Elections Not Expected to Increase Cholera Spread in Haiti (11/25/2010)

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti - Press Briefing by Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO Deputy Director, 23 November 2010 (11/23/2010)

International Agencies Propose Joint Strategy to Fight Cholera in Haiti (11/16/2010)

PAHO Press Briefing on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, Tuesday, 16 November 2010 (11/15/2010)

PAHO Briefs NGO Partners on Cholera Outbreak in Haiti (11/15/2010)

Press Briefing on Cholera Outbreak in Haiti by Dr. Jon Andrus November 9 (11/09/2010)

Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Likely to Grow Much Larger (11/09/2010)

Number of Cholera Cases and Deaths Still Rising in Haiti (11/02/2010)

CDC: Cholera Outbreak Strain Identified (11/01/2010)

PAHO’s Deputy Director Updates OAS’ Group of Friends of Haiti on Outbreak Situation (10/28/2010)

PAHO Position on Cholera Vaccination in Haiti (10/28/2010)

PAHO: Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Still Trending Upward (10/27/2010)

PAHO: Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Still Trending Upward (10/27/2010)

Press briefing on the cholera outbreak in Haiti by Dr. Jon Andrus, 27 October 2010 (10/27/2010)

PAHO: Cholera cases likely to increase in Haiti (10/25/2010)

PAHO Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti (10/22/2010)

Taller analizó el impacto de la vacuna contra la influenza pandémica (09/15/2010)

WHO Declares H1N1 Pandemic Over, Urges Continued Influenza Vigilance (08/10/2010)

Facts and Myths about the Safety of the Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009 Vaccine (05/26/2010)

Spain Donates Four Million Doses of Influenza A Vaccines to Latin American Countries (03/04/2010)

Nicaragua: Lista para recibir y aplicar la vacuna contra la Influenza AH1N1 en grupos priorizados (02/24/2010)

2009

Jóvenes de los Ecoclubes difunden mensajes de prevención frente a la pandemia de influenza H1N1 (12/14/2009)

WHO Says Prompt Treatment Can Prevent Serious Cases, Deaths from H1N1 (11/12/2009)

Preparing Communities to Respond to Pandemic Influenza (11/03/2009)

Autoridades de Salud alertan sobre brote severo de dengue en Nicaragua (10/02/2009)

PAHO Unveils Two Communities of Practice on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (09/21/2009)

Countries of the Americas Examine Response to Pandemic H1N1 2009 and Challenges Ahead (09/11/2009)

Países de las Américas se organizan para adquirir la vacuna de la gripe pandémica (09/10/2009)

Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the Americas: What's Next? (09/02/2009)

Chile's President Urges a Collective Response to A (H1N1) Pandemic (06/24/2009)

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