Acute Watery Diarrhea and Cholera: Haiti Pre-decision Brief for Public Health Action

Key Recommendations

  • The most effective measures to prevent transmission of acute watery diarrhea are provision of safe (chlorinated) water; safe water storage; appropriate disposal of feces; and handwashing with soap after caring for patients, toileting, cleaning other persons after toileting, or before preparing, serving, or eating food. Because onset of the rainy season is likely to enhance transmission of acute watery diarrhea, these measures should be strengthened immediately, particularly in settlements for displaced persons.
  • Outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea are likely to occur. Surveillance systems should be able to rapidly detect an increase in reported cases of acute watery diarrhea. Such an increase should trigger efforts to determine the source of transmission, ensure implementation of control measures in the affected area, and determine the microbial etiology.
  • Dehydration is the critical clinical issue. Adequate supplies for oral and intravenous rehydration and training in clinical management of dehydration need to be in place throughout the affected regions before an outbreak occurs.
  • Cholera is extremely unlikely to occur. However, if adults present with acute watery diarrhea and severe dehydration, cholera testing should be performed.


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