Help Needed to Combat Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (July 29, 2011) – Cholera, which ravaged much of this country earlier this year, has returned with a vengeance.

The current epidemic appears to be far worse than the previous one, says Ted Steinhauer, the country director for Medical Teams International (MTI). The death toll has reached 4,600 people, according to government officials.

Medical Teams is a key partner with Covenant World Relief (CWR) in providing medical care to Haitians and others around the world. Donations to CWR help finance MTI’s work in Haiti. Several medical teams that included Covenanters have traveled to the island in partnership with MTI.

The number of cholera cases had declined dramatically during the dry spring months. The arrival of the current rainy season has led to the renewed outbreak, however. The Health Ministry reported more than 1,000 new cholera cases each day last month.

Lack of sanitation is the primary culprit. Cholera is spread through contaminated water, and Haiti has no central sewage or potable water systems.

Cholera can kill within a time frame of several hours to several days, but is easily treatable if people receive medical treatment in time. The treatment involves rehydrating the patients with Ringer’s Lactate (RL), a solution that contains electrolytes that are lost through dehydration.

Click here to donate to the Covenant’s Haiti Relief Fund.

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