Last evening, the CDC confirmed that the cases of diarrheal illness that HAS and other hospitals in the Artibonite region have been receiving have been identified as Cholera. HAS has instituted the World Health Organization Cholera treatment protocol, and redesigned the hospital’s patient flow to keep the cholera patients in a separate area.
All HAS staff have been provided with training on cholera and its effects and its treatment. HAS remains in close contact with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), whose efforts are now focused on localizing the source of the disease. A CDC team was at the hospital last night to study maps of the region and to review our patient data, especially the localities where the patients have been living during the previous week.
Most patients appear to have contracted the disease from one or several sites at some distance from the hospital. We have received very few patients from the immediate area.
Under the able direction of our newly-arrived Medical Director, Dr. Silvia Ernst (who was formerly at the Schweitzer hospital in Lambarene), HAS has been able to manage the patient flow without undue stress. All of the staff have served long hours with great professionalism.
To a great extent, cholera is a nursing disease, requiring the establishment and maintenance of IV lines, education to the patients’ families to remain hydrated, and the administration of antibiotics as appropriate. Most patients so far have been able to recuperate and return home within several days.