Cholera cases climb to 111 in Venezuela

Jan 31, 2011

(AP) -- The number of cholera cases has jumped to 111 in Venezuela as more people tested positive after attending a wedding with contaminated food in the Dominican Republic, the country's health minister said Friday.

The patients were all receiving treatment, and 27 were hospitalized, Health Minister Eugenia Sader told the Caracas-based television network Telesur.

The number of cases rose swiftly on Friday. Venezuelan authorities had said a day earlier that 37 people had the virus in the country and that 12 others were hospitalized in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican officials said wedding guests became infected when they ate tainted lobster at a wedding Jan. 22. Health Minister Bautista Rojas said lobsters for the lavish celebration were bought in Pedernales, a town bordering Haiti, where more than 3,000 people have died from a .

Many of the 452 guests were Venezuelans, and health officials hope to provide treatment to all of them to keep the illness from spreading, Sader said. She has said several who returned to Madrid, Mexico and Boston also have cholera.

The Massachusetts health department said Friday that six state residents tested positive after attending the wedding, but all were released from local hospitals and officials were not concerned the disease could spread.

Jose Rodriguez, a vice minister in the Dominican Health Department, said the wedding menu consisted of 25 dishes, so not everyone ate the lobster.

Clemente Terrero, an infectious disease specialist and member of the Dominican Medical Association, questioned the reliability of government statistics on cholera.

"It is not possible that so many people became infected with cholera at one party, and that only 300 cases have been reported in the Dominican Republic in three months," he said.

Cholera fears have led to mass deportations of Haitian migrants since the beginning of the year. One death has been reported in the Dominican Republic.

Cholera, which causes severe diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and death, is spread through fecal-contaminated water and food. It had been rare in the Americas recently, until the outbreak in Haiti.

A large outbreak centered in Peru in 1991 spread to other countries and a total of 396,536 cases were reported throughout the Americas that year, according to the Pan American Health Organization. However a massive public health program subsequently helped all but eliminate the disease in the region, with just 13 known cases in 2006.

Before this month, had not reported any cases since 2000.

Explore further: Molecular method classifies patients with polycythemia vera

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Death toll from Haiti cholera rises to 1,721

Nov 29, 2010

At least 1,721 Haitians have died from a worsening cholera epidemic in the earthquake-devastated country, according to new figures released by the health ministry on Monday.

Expect 200,000 Haiti cholera cases: expert

Nov 23, 2010

A top health expert warned on Tuesday that Haiti could face as many as 200,000 cases of cholera in the coming three months and needs urgent supplies to treat an explosion of cases of the deadly disease.

Cholera outbreak reported in Namibia

Mar 12, 2008

Health officials in Namibia say one person has died in a cholera outbreak in the Engela Health District, which has been compromised by floods.

Cholera spreading fast throughout Haiti: US study

Dec 09, 2010

Cholera is spreading rapidly throughout Haiti, highlighting the need for urgent efforts to curb the epidemic, a report from the US-based Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Ebola in mind, US colleges screen some students

7 hours ago

University students from West Africa may be subject to extra health checks when they arrive to study in the United States as administrators try to insulate their campuses from the worst Ebola outbreak in ...

WHO: More Ebola cases in past week than any other

8 hours ago

The past week has seen the highest increase of Ebola cases since the outbreak in West Africa began, the World Health Organization said Friday, offering more evidence that the crisis is worsening.

User comments : 0