Cholera vaccine, antibiotics urged for Haiti
December 10th, 2010
07:19 PM ET

Cholera vaccine, antibiotics urged for Haiti

The cholera epidemic in Haiti continues to spread, particularly in the rural areas in the north, which has public health advocates calling for more to to be done to try to stem the spread of disease.

In a commentary published Friday in the journal The Lancet, Dr. Paul Farmer, a co-founder of Partners In Health and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, calls for more antibiotics and vaccines to be shipped to the small Caribbean nation.

He and his co-authors told reporters Friday that there are still areas and even some camps where only few people have been infected with the waterborne disease, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and in extreme cases can lead to death in just a few hours.

So far almost 100,000 people have been sickened in Haiti according to Pan American Health Organization and 2120 people have died as of December 4.   Dr. Louise Ivers, an assistant professor  at Harvard Medical School and the Chief of Mission in Haiti for PIH, told reporters Friday she believes these numbers are probably underreported because it’s still very difficult to get to some parts of Haiti.

David Schrumpf from Doctors Without Borders echoes Ivers' concerns. “We often see only the tip of the iceberg as we know there are people who are dying from cholera in the rural communities," he said in a statement. "We are trying to reach them, by car, motorbike or sometimes by foot, to install oral rehydration points and treatment units”

Farmer acknowledges that not everyone agrees with his recommendations. “The resistance tends to come from peers in public health communities,” he says.

Group fighting cholera in Haiti

“Cholera vaccine is not going to be the magic bullet for stopping the cholera outbreak at this stage,” says Dan Epstein, a spokesman for the PAHO tells CNN. For vaccination to work, he says, one has to take two oral doses one to two weeks apart and one isn’t fully protected until about a week after getting the second vaccine dose.

However, Epstein and Farmer both say vaccines are part of the equation to slow the progression of the epidemic.  Preventing the spread by using clean water and proper sanitation control measures are essential too.  Poor or non-existent sanitation is the main culprit in an epidemic because “the source of the contamination is usually the feces of an infected person that contaminates the food and/or water” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ivers gave one example of just how poor the sanitation in one Haiti camp for those left homeless after the devastating earthquake in January. “In Parc Jean-Marie Vincent there are 200 latrines for 51,000 people, which means the vast majority of people are using buckets or just an open area in the corner of the camp and there remains a very high risk of the further spread of the disease in the camps and elsewhere.”

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Michael

    The cholera vaccine doesn't even work. I got the vaccine once several years ago before travelling in Africa. When I went back a couple years later, I couldn't even get the vaccine. It isn't available in the US because it doesn't work. So, I got my yellow card stamped that I was allergic to the vaccine so they wouldn't try to give me the vaccine in Africa.

    December 10, 2010 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • notmyrealname

      How do you know it "doesn't work"? Did you get cholera? If not, what proof do you have?

      December 10, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • jocobo

      Haiti is a lost cause just like Africa.
      Forget it.

      December 11, 2010 at 22:00 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      You're the lost cause, dingus.

      December 12, 2010 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • j

      we need more take care of our own country f the rest of the world mentality

      December 13, 2010 at 02:10 | Report abuse |
    • fred miller

      Send NO vaccine...Let the lost civilazation of haiti drift off into history...and out of our wallets...They're the worst kind of leach...Just look at South Florida

      December 13, 2010 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      The CDC said the vaccine doesn't work. I'm not saying to do nothing. Send rehyrdation packets and water purification systems.

      December 13, 2010 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Tom

    seriously. Why would any country give anything to Haiti when everything given winds up in a warehouse to be used only by the elite.

    December 10, 2010 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mangkonethong

      Farag, Mandy & Team:Greetings to our dear friends in Les Cayes! I hope the rain cseaed over the weekend and the sun is shining down upon you and the little ones that He has sent you there to care for! Just thinking about Cambry, Pastor Louis' church and the loving children makes me SO want to return soon!I'm praying for you use this time to listen God speaks very clearly into that marvelous Haitian silence (until the animals start up just before sunrise after that, forget it!)In Christ's love,Scott

      October 14, 2012 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
  3. Dave D

    Should we be trying to change Gods/natures will? To many branches on a tree always cause problems. Trim ithem back and it said tree is ofter much better off.

    December 10, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • notmyrealname

      And you claim to know "God's will", you moron? By whose authority? Who made you God's spokesperson, you little twerp?

      December 10, 2010 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
    • jim

      @notmyrealname You are an angry little turd, aren't you?

      December 11, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • Truth


      December 11, 2010 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Nature should be allowed to take its course

      December 11, 2010 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      If it were, you'd have been drawn and quartered eons ago, dear, just for being an azz.

      December 12, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  4. SandyC

    If and when the cholera epidemic ever ends, the people will still be hungry, illiterate, poor and overpopulated.
    There is no way out of their problem until the population is reduced. Sooner or later this problem will have to be addressed. Why do they keep putting it off?

    December 10, 2010 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Uhh... Maybe because they have cholera?

      December 10, 2010 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mearderer

      you seem to know it all you probably struggling to buy tampons yourself mind your own business

      December 11, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
    • ka

      are you serious?

      December 11, 2010 at 02:47 | Report abuse |
    • jim

      @SandyC You're wasting your time. The posters below are all too stupid to appreciate the truth of your post. You have cast your pearls before swine!

      December 11, 2010 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • jocobo

      The population in Haiti can only be controlled by disease.

      December 11, 2010 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Sit on it and rotate, jim.

      December 12, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I came across a simple low cost easy to use solution – go to http://www.aquadrop.org

    $5 treats 600 gallons of water anywhere, anytime without equipment or dangerous chemicals and unsafe water is gone.

    December 10, 2010 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fred miller

      Just donated a nickle using my facebook account...

      December 13, 2010 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
  6. PinkUnicorn

    Its a giant conspiracy to give Haiti autism i tell you

    December 10, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Ron

    How about using the money in America.

    December 10, 2010 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Yeah, we could use the money to buy you a first-grade education.

      December 10, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    Dr. Paul Farmer knows Haiti and its medical problems very well. He has devoted many years of selfless service to the poor of that nation. And he is a world-renowned expert on infectious diseases, particularly cholera and TB, the scourges of Haiti. The book "Mountains Beyond Mountains", by Tracy Kidder, is a very readable and inspiring account of his career.

    Dr. Farmer is no friend of the Haiti elite, and he works tirelessly to ensure that medicine is delivered to clinics and patients. His comments should be taken very seriously.

    December 10, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. kazza

    "Decrease the surplus population" hhhm sounds like Scrooge if ever heard....beware the ghost of xmas present!

    December 11, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mearder

    not everyone in Haiti is looking for handouts although some are claiming that before the earthquake Haiti was awful when i lived there i didn t see that however before the earthquake my country did nt have topnotch sanitation but it wasn t everywhere in fact most people buy Culligan water in Haiti in form of plastic or bottles
    obviously after such disaster which Haiti never experienced off course people will do the unthinkable i m sure if most of you were stuck in the desert and find a pond or oasis where animals had drink from you d have no choice
    so when i see people are acting like they any better or different i surely think not this only proves how strong my people are and have been if you have nothing good to say stay out of this and mind your business

    December 11, 2010 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mearder

    the woman in the picture that you see is for sure uneducated
    because if she was she would have heard of Ergonomics she would not be carrying a load like that on her head but than again being from Haiti myself i already can tell she is from a Rural area trying to make a living by selling coal or rice that s why Port au Prince was so over populated because they all want to be where the action is to sell goods and that is why you only see her that way but not the others in the picture she s a peasant most likely
    people like her in Haiti are the poorest of the poor the majority of Haitians would not do it and someone like her are rejected and look down upon in Haiti
    our country was not rich before the Earth quake but yet fun and alive
    and by the way Cite Soleil near the Capital is not the real Haiti it s HAiti s biggest slum and that s where the Media s cameras are mostly focused

    December 11, 2010 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. B. A.

    Listen, I think you lie, ME. Why does nothing I read or see or hear from other Haiti experts speak of this fun and exciting place you always tout? What is your big problem with people looking down on Haiti? You said that Haitians look down on some of their own people. What should we say to please you? Shame on us for feeling angry at the way the people in Haiti rise up against their own country and burn precious resources and hinder the help they say they need. No. We have the same kind of stupidity here from our dark countrymen who riot and burn and destroy their own neighborhoods. We don't appreciate it here in our country, so why should we approve of it in your country. It is not civilized no matter where it is. I am fully prepared for the ugly, vulgar reply you will have back to me, so go ahead you vulgar POS.

    December 11, 2010 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mearder

      i am glad you await my answer
      i guess the riot in England was ok SvckYourGrannyFilthy H0le

      December 11, 2010 at 02:12 | Report abuse |
    • Mearder

      and beside i don t live in your country of bigotry America
      either thank goodness
      those in the UK burning and smashing don t look like me to say that
      but when they do it it s okay
      F....g HYPOCRITE

      December 11, 2010 at 02:22 | Report abuse |
  13. Mearder

    you should maybe mind your own business i don t wanna talk to you
    i m here for my people
    i can be vulgar indeed we re speaking of my people
    vulgar isn t the only thing
    when you speak of Haiti for me its Personal
    my unbilical cord was cut in Haiti

    December 11, 2010 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • notmyrealname

      Sounds like that's not the only thing that was cut there.

      December 11, 2010 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      A lot of blood loss at birth would explain a few things....no the brightest are you

      December 11, 2010 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
    • winner

      I am sure from Haiti and ashamed of you , of your vulgarity , if you don't have anything better to say please be quiet we don't want to be represented by that.

      December 12, 2010 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
  14. Mearder

    to user "Winner the pooh"

    Sure because i am not an @$$KI$$erLike you are
    call me a PATRIOT
    i should be insulted and not say anything
    eye 4 an eye
    you should vote ARISTIDE

    December 12, 2010 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mearder

    people might hate me for this but than again i don t care
    I Love "BABY DOC"
    i think he made mistakes and during his era most world leaders in the 70s and 80s were quite ignorant
    Europe ,Nicaragua, Chile, Romania, Africa you name it were not perfect
    but since the world has changed and is currently changing things aren t the same
    i think if Baby Doc is given a chance he would be able to lead Haiti this time but not your Aristide

    and to users " notMyRealName and Truth "
    SvckBothYourGrannies inBetweens

    December 12, 2010 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • notmyrealname

      Oooh, oww. That hurrrtss.

      December 12, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  16. B. A.

    I'm sure there are some decent Haitians somewhere and I would welcome them but not the ignoramuses that cannot see that rioting is not an option. If a Haitian tells me that he would burn down my neighborhood if I did anything that he didn't like or if he thought I did something he didn't like, I feel he is too dangerous and barbaric to befriend. Where are the Haitians like "winner"?
    All I have seen and heard from are the vulgar, disgusting ones who make me think that even the ones who can type English, still have not evolved from the jungle.

    December 12, 2010 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mearder

      by the Way B1tch... i left you a nice love note scroll some more you ll find it although cnn keep deleting my post because they Hypocrites
      we haitians should be dissed and shut our mouthves not me i am no docile N1ggr
      my name isn t Martin Luther

      December 13, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
  17. Mearder

    to B1tch " B.A"
    i don t want s to befriend you either
    you want" Winner" because he s the type that would lickYour@$$... not me
    you talking about Barbarism
    in England i guess they were not for even smashing the windows of the Royals
    screw your english speaking that s your language not mine
    try Speaking German

    December 13, 2010 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. jimiatlas

    Mearder, perhaps you might consider what Toussaint Louverture said with regard to the world around Haiti wishing to intrude on Haiti's cause of freedom.; “Whatever defamation of character my enemies are spreading about me, I do not feel the need to justify myself toward them. While discretion obliges me to remain silent, my duty compels me to prevent them from doing any more harm.” This goes both ways. He was also referring to the inner forces of corrupti local powerbrokers. When it comes to crying out with vulgarity it only demeans your cause and those you purport to speak for. I suspect General Louverture would rather you work in determined reserve to solve Haiti's problems rather then drawing attention to yourself through the unecessary use of profanities against those who haven't a clue about your homeland and only seek to provoke you, which they obviously have.

    December 13, 2010 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. razzlea

    it just breaks my heart to hear all this but i have to say that im not surprised it was a poor run country to begin with , it just seems that noone care to help them and its just sad. Check out my health and fitness blog http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    December 13, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
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