Cholera in Florida, DR
MIAMI – Florida has confirmed its first case of cholera linked to the current outbreak in Haiti, but the disease is unlikely to spread because of better sanitation in the US, state health officials said today.
The case involved a woman who had visited family along Haiti’s rural Artibonite River, where the outbreak began last month, said Dr. Thomas Torok of the Florida Department of Health.
The woman returned to Collier County in southwest Florida and has recovered. Health officials said privacy laws prohibited them from releasing more information about the woman or her case.
The health department said other suspected cases of cholera were under investigation. No locally acquired cases have been reported.
Florida has a large Haitian community and officials say travel between the state and the Caribbean country has increased since the earthquake. Doctors have been asked to report cases of watery diarrhea in people who recently visited Haiti and to send specimens to state laboratories.
Cholera has also arrived in the Dominican Republic, and so have fear and worry.
Dominican officials said Tuesday the first case has been detected in their nation – a 32-year-old Haitian construction worker who returned Friday to the Dominican Republic from a visit to his homeland.
Although the lone reported case is the result of a migrant bringing the disease into the country and is not related to local water or food contamination, many Dominicans are still worried.
Meanwhile, anti-United Nations rioting fueled by cholera fears scaled down in northern Haiti today, but a third demostrator was killed in clashes and small-scale demonstrations took to the streets of the capital.
In Cap-Haitien, where the rioting began on Monday, a UN armored vehicle ran into a trench that protesters had dug in the street, witnesses and UN police spokesman Andre Leclerc said. Protesters then ran forward throwing rocks when the soldiers got out to push.
Witnesses told an AP Television News cameraman that the peacekeepers opened fire, killing a demonstrator and wounding one protester in the face, one in the stomach and another in the leg. The dead man’s body was displayed to reporters with a fatal gunshot wound in his left armpit.
The U.N. denied its peacekeepers fired, insisting there wasn’t any shooting at the scene by anyone. The U.N. acknowledged earlier in the week when a peacekeeper killed one of the two other demonstrators who have died, saying the soldier shot in self-defense.
For the most part, protests were distinctly calmer yesterday than in the first two days, though flaming barricades remained and protesters threw rocks at police trying to remove them. The national police chief and other senior officials held a news conference in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second biggest city, to again appeal for calm. (AP/CNN)