Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Crosses The Dominican Border

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Felix Evens / Reuters

Felix Evens / Reuters

The cholera epidemic which has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Haitians has now spread to it’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, which shares the Island of Hispaniola with grief-stricken Haiti.

Rumors of the first case of cholera in the Dominican Republic have been confirmed by Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gómez. The citizen affected by cholera has been identified as Haitian migrant, Wilmo Louwes, 32, a construction worker who is being treated in the town of Higuey. (Read more in A Storm Averted, Haiti’s Cholera Threat Grows.)

Prior to this year both the Dominican Republic and Haiti had not confirmed a single case of cholera for over 100 years.

But following the January 12th earthquake, Haiti now finds itself far less equipped to cope with the crisis than its neighbor. While Wilmo Louwes will receive specialist medical treatment in isolation to minimize the risk of the infection spreading, the same cannot be said for the many thousands more infected and living under the threat of infection in Haiti. Port-au-Prince’s mesh cloth and rubble medical centers are far beyond saturation point and mission leader of the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres which is operating in the city, Stefano Zannini, warns of further deterioration in the capital. (Check out TIME’s Top 10 Terrible Epidemics.)

This small outbreak in the Dominican Republic serves to underscore just how dire the situation in Haiti has become.

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