Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cholera in Florida: Naples isn't Haiti

"First cholera case in Florida found in Naples area"
SunSentinel.com (November 17, 2010)

"A Naples-area woman has been confirmed as the first Floridian to contract cholera after visiting Haiti, and other potential cases in other areas also are being tested, state health officials said Wednesday.

"But Department of Health doctors said the woman's infection poses virtually no risk to the public in Florida because U.S. sewer and water systems eliminate the bacteria from drinking water, which is primarily how it spreads.

" 'We don't anticipate we will see any transmission as a result of exposure in Haiti in Florida or anywhere else in the U.S. - because our water and sanitiation system minimizes the risk,' said Dr. Thomas Torok, a disease investigator with the health department.

"The only real risk to Floridians would occur if they had direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person, including if the patient worked in a job with public contact, cholera experts said. The woman does not work in such a job.

"State health officials declined to say how many other illnesses they are investigating as potential cholera cases, or where those cases have developed. Potential cases in South Florida would not be a surprise, given number of residents here who travel to Haiti...."

It's also no surprise, to the Lemming, that this cholera case in Florida isn't seen as much of a threat to public health.

Florida isn't Haiti.

The climate's similar: but not the culture and society. This isn't a 'superior/inferior' thing: just a recognition that one place has a water treatment and delivery system that delivers clean water that's been disinfected; the other doesn't. January's earthquake didn't help Haiti's ability to keep folks healthy. At all.

There's background on the last 6,000 or so years of development in public water delivery systems here:Back to Haiti and Florida. There's a lot of traffic between Haiti and Florida, which explains how this case happened:

"...The infected woman, from Collier County, contracted the disease after a trip to visit relatives in the Artibonite River region of Haiti, where that country's recent outbreak began and has been strongest, Torok said. Haiti's cholera epidemic has killed about 1,100 and hospitalized more than 18,000...."

Meanwhile, back in Haiti, folks living there have quite a lot on their hands: a cholera outbreak; rebuilding from a hurricane; rebuilding that the hurricane interrupted, from January's earthquake; and a national election coming up.

Like the Lemming's said before: money isn't everything, but it sure helps get supplies and people to where they're needed. There's more about that, in the "More" post.

Related posts:More:The Lemming's take on Haiti, Voodo, charity, and common sense:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Actually, I thought Naples was in Italy. Oh, there's one in Florida, too.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

And California.

Also Venice, in both states.

You think that's something? Start looking for cities and towns named "Alexandria." Or whatever the local language for "Alexander-city" is.

That chap got around.

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