Cholera in Haiti and Dominican Republic
Updated: February 11, 2019
- Information updated regarding the number of cholera cases and death reported in 2018.
Since 2010, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been experiencing a cholera epidemic. In 2018, Haiti reported over 3700 suspected cases of cholera and over 40 deaths. Between January and October 2018, the Dominican Republic reported over 110 cases and 1 related death.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection that is caused by ingesting food or water that has been contaminated with the bacterium 'Vibrio cholerae'. Cholera causes watery diarrhea and can quickly lead to severe dehydration. In severe cases it can lead to death if left untreated.
Cholera is endemic in many countries around the world. Every year there are between 1.3 to 4 million cases of cholera, with between 20 000 to 140 000 deaths. Travellers to tourist areas that practise safe food and water precautions and good hand hygiene are at low risk.
Protect yourself from cholera
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.
Find out if there is a risk of cholera before travelling
- See Travel advice and advisories by country
- Select your destination and click "Go!"
- Click on the Health tab
- Click on the Food/Water tab
Eat and drink safely
- Always take precautions with food and water to avoid getting sick.
- Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot.
- Drink water only if it has been boiled, disinfected, or if it is in a commercially sealed bottle.
Practice good hand hygiene
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this as often as possible, including before eating or preparing food and after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. It's a good idea to always keep some with you when you travel.
- Higher risk travellers may benefit from vaccination and should consult with a health care professional to discuss this option. Travellers at higher risk for cholera include:
- travellers visiting areas with limited access to clean water, who do not follow proper hand hygiene precautions, or who eat raw or poorly cooked food
- aid or humanitarian workers
If you develop symptoms
If you experience severe diarrhea and/or vomiting while travelling or after you return to Canada:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Tell a health care professional where you have been travelling or living.
- Drink fluids and use oral rehydration solutions to prevent dehydration.
- Infants, young children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at greatest risk of dehydration.
- If you notice symptoms of cholera during the flight, tell the flight attendant before you land or the border services officer as you enter the country. They will notify a quarantine officer who will assess your symptoms.
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