Wednesday, October 27, 2010
More and More Cholera
Cholera Spreads in Haiti images - Images by Ben Depp
The news is reporting that the epidemic has been contained. I hope that's true. Rumor here has it that somebody in Cite Soleil has cholera and contracted it in Port-Au-Prince, not in the Artibonite. Apparently 75-80% of people with cholera never exhibit symptoms but are carriers nonetheless.
Yesterday I woke up at 5am to meet a reporter for the Times of London. We stopped by the cemetery in Saint Marc 15 minutes before a funeral procession arrived to bury the body of a cholera victim. He was an 18 year old highschool student who had been working in rice fields during a school break and had drunk water from the Artibonite river. He had started exhibiting symptoms, diarrhea and vomiting, at 4 PM on Tuesday a week ago, and he died at midnight the same day. He was one of the first cholera victims so nobody knew what it was yet.
Then we drove up the road and stopped and talked to a farmer. He is scared of cholera in his community and he knows a lot of sick people and a lot of people that have died from cholera. These cases probably won't have figured in to the official numbers.
A mile and a half down a random dirt road until it came to an end. We stopped and asked a woman if anybody in that area was sick with cholera and she pointed to a guy 50' away who was puking into a bucket.
He had begun vomiting and having diarhea in the morning and now at 1 PM couldn't walk. He said he hadn't gone to the hospital because he didn't have money to pay a motorcycle taxi. I think he was already too far gone to be thinking clearly. It only cost 50 gourdes ($1.25) for a motorcycle taxi driver to take him to the hospital where a Cuban volunteer doctor stuck an IV in him, which is all he needed to live.