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Cholera in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti

Updated: September 28, 2015

Travel Health Notice

In recent years, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti have reported cases of cholera.

Haiti has experienced a cholera epidemic since October 2010, with over 700,000 cases and close to 9000 related deaths since that time.  In 2015, to date, Haiti has reported over 20,000 cases, which is an increase when compared to the same time period in 2014.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, has also experienced a cholera epidemic since October 2010, though on a smaller scale, with over 33,000 cases and close to 500 related deaths.  In 2015, to date, the Dominican Republic has reported over 350 cases, which is an increase when compared to the same time period in 2014.

In August 2015, Cuba reported isolated cases of cholera in the province of Holguín. Although these are the first cases reported by Cuba this year, in January 2015, Canada reported a case of cholera in a traveller who returned from a trip to Cuba.

Travellers should note that there may be an increase in the number of cases during seasonal heavy rainfall which occurs during the months of May to July and September to October.

CholeraExternal link is an acute intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. People usually become infected from drinking or eating contaminated water or food. It is associated with watery diarrhea and rapid dehydration, which can be life-threatening.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends practising safe food and water precautionsExternal link while in Cuba, Dominican Republic or Haiti.

Recommendations

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

  1. Practise safe food and water precautionsExternal link
  2. Consider getting vaccinated
    • 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.
  3. If you develop severe diarrhea and/or vomiting while travelling or after you return to Canada
    • Seek medical attention immediately.
    • Drink fluids and use oral rehydration saltsExternal link to prevent dehydration.
      • Infants, young children and the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at greatest risk of dehydration.
    • If you are still ill upon arrival into Canada, please tell the flight attendant before you land or the border services officer as you exit the flight.