Diarrheal illness among US residents providing medical services in Haiti during the cholera epidemic, 2010 to 2011.J Travel Med. 2014 Jan-Feb; 21(1):55-7.JT
Although nosocomial transmission of cholera is rare, two US healthcare workers (HCW) became ill with cholera after providing medical services during the Haiti cholera epidemic. To assess the incidence of diarrheal illness and explore preventive health behaviors practiced by US residents who provided medical services in Haiti, we conducted a cross-sectional, anonymous, web-based survey. We e-mailed 896 participants from 50 US-based, health-focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs), of whom 381 (43%) completed the survey. Fifty-six percent of respondents (n = 215) reported providing some care for patients with cholera. Diarrhea was reported by 31 (8%) respondents. One person was diagnosed with cholera by serologic testing. NGOs responding to international emergencies should ensure ample access to basic hygiene supplies and should promote their use to reduce the incidence of diarrheal illness among HCW working overseas.