09 November, 2010

Cholera spreading in Haiti, E. coli tainted cheese samples, Polio update in Congo, and Record dengue in Taiwan

Update on Cholera in Haiti:
In the past 24 hours, HealthMap has received a dramatic increase in media reports, blog reports and informal communications regarding new suspected cases of cholera.  Hurricane Tomas killed 20, and the drenching rains caused many latrines and septic systems to overflow, potentially helping spread the cholera outbreak south and west.  So far, at least 544 have died, ~8000 have been hospitalized and cholera has been confirmed in Port-au-Prince.  The capital now has at least 120 suspected cases of cholera;114 of them are in the densely populated slums of Cité Soleil.  Partners in Health is also deeply concerned by the spread.  One doctor with Samaritan’s Purse warned that the epidemic may be about to explode.  Please check http://www.healthmap.org/haiti/ for the latest information.  In addition to precisely mapping new reports of cholera, we are adding safe water installations and cholera treatment centers regularly.  If your organization has organization has facilities or cholera cases not on our map, please contact us through the “Outbreak missing?” feature.

Samples of Gouda Cheese Spread E. coli:

Bravo Farms Dutch Style Raw Milk Gouda Cheese tainted with E. coli is believed to be responsible for illnesses in numerous states.  Between October 5th and November 8th, Bravo Farms Dutch Style Raw Milk Gouda Cheese was sold and sampled at Costco stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. So far, 25 people are sick in this outbreak. E. coli symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps and dehydration. The FDA recommends that anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately; in some occasions, E. coli can lead to kidney failure.

Confirmed Cases of Polio in Republic of Congo:
Last week, we reported a possible polio outbreak in Pointe-Noire, Congo where 8 deaths and 20 cases were suspected. This week, at least two confirmed cases of poliovirus Type I, 120 cases of acute flacid paralysis, and 58 deaths have been reported out of the region. Director-General of Health Alexis Dockekias described patients as presenting with flu-like symptoms, with paralysis beginning in the lower limbs and spreading to the upper limbs. Most of the cases have concentrated around the city of Pointe-Noire and have occurred in young adults ages 15 to 25 who are believed to not have been immunized at birth and thus completely susceptible to the disease. Guido Borghese, principal advisor for child survival and development for the UN’s West Africa office, believes the virus may have been imported from neighboring countries such as DR Congo or Angola and that the outbreak may be much more widespread. Plans are underway to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign to begin November 11th. The last indigenous case of polio was recorded for the Republic of Congo in 2000.

Total Dengue Case in Taiwan Break 1000 Mark this Past Week:
A total of 1031 cases of dengue have been reported for the island of Taiwan since August this year. Among these, 13 were cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever and 2 resulted in deaths. Over half of the cases, 589 total, have been attributed to Kaohsiung City, where the number of yellow fever mosquitoes and Asian Tiger mosquitoes, both transmitters of dengue, is more than 20 times that of other cities in Taiwan. Health department officials say that because no vaccine is present, most of the prevention and control efforts have been limited to attempts at killing these disease-carrying mosquitoes. Officials have set an ambitious goal of limiting the number of cases for this year to 1,500.

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