Disturbing conditions on the scale of health and disease continue to plague Haiti. International relief and health officials claim that cholera has become a high-risk epidemic in the Caribbean nation, where nearly 1 million of people are still displaced in camps since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit it a year ago.
According to the Associated Press, World Health Organization spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the cholera outbreak in Haiti has infected 170,000 people since October and has claimed 3,651 lives already. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the outbreak last fall and is working with international aid organizations, including the Haiti Ministry of Public Health and Population to create an appropriate global response to the issue.
Yet the epidemic has not reached its peak period. This would occur when the 2.2 percent mortality rate drops to less than 1 percent.
Many worry about this increased risk and spread of the disease, however, officials are just as frustrated and boggled by the issue as the general public.
“If we had the magic solution we would be doing it,” Matthias Schmale, the undersecretary-general of the International Federation of the Red Cross, said.
Cholera is an infection to the small intestine that results in watery diarrhea. It is recognized as an easily treatable disease with an immediate administration of oral rehydration salts to replace the fluids that are lost through dysentery. If cholera is left untreated, an onset of symptoms can occur that can often be fatal. The CDC is working to increase access to life-saving medications and intravenous rehydration therapy along with providing access to safe water and sanitation, elements that were devastated by the earthquake.