• By Deborah Balzer

Infectious Diseases A-Z: Cholera vaccine campaign in Haiti

October 31, 2016

a man rinsing and washing his hands in water from a rusty pipe
A large-scale emergency vaccine campaign to fight ongoing cholera outbreaks in Haiti will launch on Nov. 8. International health organizations are assisting Haiti's Ministry of Health efforts by providing more than 1 million doses of cholera vaccine. Officials will target 820,00 people over the age of 1 who reside in areas affected by the destruction of water and sanitation supply systems following Hurricane Matthew.

Mayo Clinic internal medicine specialist Dr. Vandana Bhide says, "Cholera usually grows in water, especially infected water, and is spread from feces." Poor sanitation, especially following a hurricane, adds to the problem of infection and disease.

Watch: Dr. Vandana Bhide discuss the risk of cholera.

Dr. Bhide says, "There are a lot of infections that can occur after a hurricane — most of which are water-related." Symptoms of cholera include profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps. The bacterial infection has a short incubation period, ranging between two hours and five days, and can be fatal within hours.

Global health organizations supporting Haiti's cholera vaccination campaign include UNICEF, GHESKIO, Partners in Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International Medical Corps and others.

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