Florida woman contracts cholera
Another case in Dominican Republic
MIAMI – A Southwest Florida woman who visited family in the disease-stricken Artibonite Valley of Haiti and a Haitian construction worker who lives in the eastern Dominican Republic but recently spent two weeks in Port-au-Prince are the first people known to have carried deadly cholera beyond Haiti.
Public health specialists in several countries fear that the illness could spread internationally.
The acute intestinal infection surfaced in Haiti four weeks ago and has killed 1,110 people and hospitalized 18,382 since.
The Florida woman does not work in a job that puts her in close contact with the public, so the chance that she might pass on the disease is small, Florida health officials said. Several more cases are under investigation in other counties, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology.
In the Dominican Republic, where clean water and sanitation are in short supply in rural villages, news of the construction worker’s case was cause for panic.
The Dominican Republic banned Haitian street vendors in border markets from selling food, juice and used clothes. Mats soaked in bleach were placed at the border entry so that people’s feet and car tires would be sanitized upon entering.