Canada warns visitors going to Dominican Republic about cholera

Canadians planning to travel to the Dominican Republic are being advised to consider getting a cholera vaccine beforehand.

The Public Health Agency of Canada updated its travel notice for the Dominican Republic on Thursday, noting there are confirmed cases of cholera in the country.

The notice recommends that travellers practice safe food and water precautions while in the country, which shares the island of Hispaniola with neighbouring Haiti.

"Consult a doctor, nurse or health care provider, or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel," the advisory said.

"Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers at high risk for cholera (travellers visiting areas of high risk with limited access to clean water and food) may benefit from vaccination and should consult with a health care provider to discuss this option."

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria. An outbreak in Haiti has killed more than 2,000 people since the outbreak was confirmed on Oct. 19. Cholera is associated with rapid dehydration, which may be life threatening.

About five per cent of infected people will become severely ill and develop profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps.

In severely ill people, cholera will cause rapid dehydration and shock. If you have a severe case and you are not treated, you could die within a few hours.

Most people who are infected don't get sick, although the bacterium can be present in their feces for up to two weeks.

Of those who do get sick, 80 to 90 per cent of cases are either mild or moderate and often indistinguishable from other types of acute diarrhea.

Unlike in Haiti, the agency has no official warning for Dominican Republic.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises "avoid all travel" to Haiti.

The travel warning for Haiti was updated because of riots and protests following the country's presidential elections on Nov. 28

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Go back | Date: 10 Dec 2010
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