Thursday, December 23, 2010
Angry Haitian mobs have lynched at least 40 people in recent weeks, accusing them of spreading a cholera outbreak. Haiti's cholera death toll since the mid-October outbreak has reached 2591. Health ministry figures as of December 17, the most recent day recorded, showed that 121,518 people have been treated for the illness. The number included at least 14 suspected sorcerers previously known to have been lynched in the far southwestern region of Grand Anse as local people feared they were spreading cholera with a magical substance. Rumours that voodoo followers are to blame for Haiti's cholera outbreak trigger revenge attacks and murder. The majority of Haitians believe in and practice at least some aspects of voodoo. Most voodooists believe that their religion can coexist with Catholicism. The word vodou derives from vodũ, which in Fon, Ewe, and related language means spirit or divine creature. The cultural area of the Fon, Ewe, and Yoruba peoples share common metaphysical conceptions around a dual cosmological divine principle Nana Buluku, the God-Creator, and the vodou(s) or God-Actor(s), daughters and sons of the Creator's twin children Mawu (goddess of the moon) and Lisa (god of the sun). The God-Creator is the cosmogonical principle and does not trifle with the mundane; the vodou(s) are the God-Actor(s) who actually govern earthly issues.
Five other people were killed in similar circumstances elsewhere in the country. "The victims, most of them voodoo priests, were stoned or hacked with machetes before being burned in the street." Communications minister Marie-Laurence Lassegue said "voodoo practitioners have nothing to do with the cholera epidemic. We must press for an awareness campaign about the disease in the communities." Health ministry figures as of December 17 showed 121,518 people had been treated for the water-borne bacterial infection, including 63,711 who received hospital treatment. And in a sign there is no end in sight for the disease that has become a thorn in the side of the already deeply troubled nation, about 50 people died on each of the last five days recorded. At the outbreak's peak in November, there were daily death tolls of 60, 70 and even 80 and above.
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission is primarily through consuming contaminated drinking water or food. The severity of the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The primary symptoms of cholera are profuse painless diarrhea and vomiting of clear fluid. These symptoms usually start suddenly, one to five days after ingestion of the bacteria. The diarrhea is frequently described as "rice water" in nature and may have a fishy odor. An untreated person with cholera may produce 10-20 liters of diarrhea a day. V. cholerae bacteria start up production of the hollow cylindrical protein flagellin to make flagella, the curly whip-like tails they rotate to propel themselves through the mucus of the small intestine. In most cases, cholera can be successfully treated with oral rehydration therapy (ORT), which is highly effective, safe, and simple to administer. Rice-based solutions are preferred to glucose-based ones due to greater efficacy. In severe cases with significant dehydration, intravenous rehydration may be necessary. Ringer's lactate is the preferred solution. Large volumes and continued replacement until diarrhea has subsided may be needed. Ten percent of a person's body weight in fluid may need to be given in the first two to four hours. If commercially produced oral rehydration solutions are too expensive or difficult to obtain, solutions can be made. One such recipe calls for 1 liter of boiled water, 1 teaspoon of salt, 8 teaspoons of sugar, and added mashed banana for potassium and to improve taste.
After the torrential rains brought by Hurricane Tomas.the spread of a deadly cholera outbreak got worst, they drank water from a river known to be contaminated with the cholera-causing bacteria. And, no, they don’t always have money to buy bottled water. Haitians use the Artibonite River and its tributaries for almost everything. Rice farming requires heavy water use, and irrigation ditches and branches from the Artibonite lace through here. The people cook with the water and wash clothes in it. And most alarmingly for those trying to check the spread of cholera, which is found in feces and spread through water, the people sometimes defecate in it.
It's Gonna Be BEDLAM!