La Plaza

News from Latin America and the Caribbean

« Previous Post | La Plaza Home | Next Post »

Cholera detected in the Dominican Republic

November 17, 2010 |  1:26 pm

Cholera victim rick loomis latimes

A case of cholera has been detected in the Dominican Republic, the first sign that the worsening epidemic in neighboring Haiti could be crossing the border shared by the island nations. The cholera case was diagnosed in a 32-year-old Haitian man who works in the Dominican Republic and visited Haiti between Oct. 31 and Nov. 12, reports said.

A cholera case has also been detected in Florida, involving a woman who recently returned from Haiti.

The man's diagnosis in the Dominican Republic sent authorities scrambling to identify any other possible cholera cases; several suspected cases have turned out negative. The Dominican Republic has tightened control of its border with Haiti, including temporarily shutting down a traditional cross-border market in the Dominican border town of Dajabon.

At least 1,100 people in Haiti have succumbed to cholera since the outbreak began last month.

The Dominican government said Wednesday that it would ask employers in the tourism and construction sectors to temporarily stop hiring Haitian workers. Carpets doused with chlorine were being placed on border bridges to disinfect tires and shoes, reported Dominican Today. The man with cholera is in stable condition in a hospital in eastern Dominican Republic, the Miami Herald reported.

Times staff writer Joe Mozingo recently reported on a woman who attempted to save her 2-year-old son from the disease. The mother, Rosemane Saintelone, was unsuccessful, and then was turned away from public transit trucks when drivers saw her carrying her child's corpse. Mozingo and staff photographer Rick Loomis observed dozens of bodies piling up in pits.

Haiti has a presidential election scheduled for Nov. 28, but the campaigns are being hampered by the cholera outbreak, deadly anti-U.N. riots, and continued recovery efforts after the devastating January earthquake.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: A cholera victim in Port-au-Prince. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times