Deadly Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

October 17, 2016 • Haiti
We are treating nearly 50 patients a day at our Cholera Treatment Center in Haiti, where this waterborne disease is on the rise following Hurricane Matthew.
Kaitlyn Lahm is the media relations coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse. She is currently in Haiti to cover our emergency distributions and Cholera Treatment Center.

Cholera is a horrific disease. If not treated, it can be deadly within just a few hours. Patients arriving at the Samaritan’s Purse Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) in Chardonnieres, Haiti, are crippled by the disease—most are carried in on stretchers, unable to walk or talk. They are losing up to their body weight in fluids.

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Medical staff at the clinic are using the adjectives devastating, pitiful, severe, catastrophic, and daunting to describe what they are seeing. Forty to fifty patients are treated each day at the clinic, and many of these are diagnosed with cholera.

“It’s critical that we take measures to contain it,” said Dr. Lance Plyer, an internist who is overseeing the clinic. “If cholera gets into a key water supply, like it did in 2010, it could kill thousands of people.”

Without the mobile treatment center, built out of tents, many Haitians would have already died from the waterborne disease. Mrs. Erel, whose two sons were patients at the cholera clinic, said, “If God had not sent you here, I would for sure have had two dead bodies in my house.” Now, her sons are on the road to recovery, and one has already been discharged.

The caseload at the CTC is rising as cholera appears to be spreading. Samaritan’s Purse has deployed a second team of medical professionals to a mountain village accessible only by mules or helicopter to explore setting up a second Cholera Treatment Center. They pray they can stop this deadly disease it before it spirals out of control.

We began today receiving patients at the respiratory care unit.
Emergency Medicine Your gift will enable Samaritan’s Purse to provide life-saving medical care (including doctors, nurses, respirators, and other essential equipment) to hurting and vulnerable communities. We respond in the wake of natural and manmade disasters, as well as during outbreaks of infectious diseases. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most important, our teams bring the Gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and afraid.

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