ArticleDownload Worksheet November 19th, 2010
Cholera Epidemic in Haiti Causes Havoc
On the island nation of Haiti, where 1.3 million people are living in tent cities following a catastrophic earthquake almost a year ago, an outbreak of the deadly disease, cholera, has claimed the lives of over 1,000 Haitians with more than 18,000 cases reported in recent weeks.
While cholera is a disease not common in Haiti, researchers have traced this outbreak to a strain of bacteria identical to one found in South Asia. Frustrated civilians began rioting against United Nations workers from Nepal who have been widely blamed for bringing the disease to the region. The disease is spreading rapidly with reports of cholera cases in the Dominican Republic and Florida from individuals who had been traveling and working in Haiti in the past week.
What is cholera?
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that if left untreated, can be fatal. People contract cholera from poor sanitation conditions and unsafe drinking water. Annually, there are an estimated 3-5 million cholera cases and 100,000-120,000 deaths from the disease globally.
Symptoms of cholera include diarrhea, high fever, vomiting and dehydration. If cholera is detected early, up to 80 percent of cases can be treated and cured with oral rehydration salts.
Haiti has a long history of poor living conditions, political and social unrest for its population of 10 million. A hurricane hit the island nation earlier this month causing widespread flooding and treacherous living conditions. More than 1 million Haitians are still living in tent cities almost a year after the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake that killed an estimated 230,000 people in January 2010.
Medical officials work to contain outbreak with treatment and ads
The Haitian government and the Ministry of Health have responded to the cholera outbreak by building 12 treatment centers to support isolating the outbreak and providing medical assistances to those infected. Aid workers are also focused on prevention. The government has launched a country-wide radio and television campaign encouraging Haitians to wash their hands and avoid contaminated water sources.
Ensuring access to clean water, promoting good personal hygiene and food handling practices, including hand washing and trying to prevent public urination and defecation is a top priority in halting this crisis.
Frustration leads to riots
Frustration with the new round of hardship erupted in riots in two northern cities, Cap-Haitien and Port-de-Paix and extended to the U.N. World Food Program’s basecamp in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. Protestors are furious with a U.N. delegation from Nepal who they believe introduced this specific strand of cholera to the region.
In response to the riots, U.N. officials grounded aid flights to Cap-Haitien and suspended some medical and water chlorination projects. With Haiti’s presidential elections approaching on Nov. 28, Caribbean correspondent Jacqueline Charles told the NewsHour, “Both U.N. officials and even officials within the Haitian government have said that they have reasons to believe that the protests that happen in Cap-Haitien really have little to do with cholera, and basically may be individuals who may be spoilers or trying to create some problems before the elections.” As the death toll from the cholera outbreak rises and elections approach, Haiti is being closely monitored, as further crises could send a wave of refugees to the Florida coast.
–Compiled by Imani M. Cheers for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
To Vote or Not to Vote – Lesson Plan
Why is voting an important responsibility for citizens? Less than 60 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2012 general election. Yet, for other Americans, voting is a very meaningful, almost sacred duty. In this lesson, students will view three short films that explore the importance of voting. Continue readingcitizenshipCivicscivil rightscivil rights act of 1965constitutionElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & CivicsimmigrationraceSocial StudiesSupreme CourtU.S. governmentVotevotingvoting historyvoting rights
Decoding Media Bias – Lesson Plan
Students will view the We The Voters film “MediOcracy,” and then examine current news stories and how they’re covered by the three main cable news outlets. They will conclude by examining news stories for bias/point of view. Continue readingbiascable networksCivicsElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & Civicsmediamedia biasMedia Literacynewsnews medianews organizationsSocial Studies
Polling Pitfalls – Lesson Plan
What do people need to consider when evaluating public opinion polls? After viewing The Poll Dance, students will examine important aspects of valid polling and evaluate three polls. Continue readingCivicsdemocracyElection 2016GovernmentpollingPollspollsterpublic opinionSocial StudiesU.S. government
Will Americans living in poor rural areas vote?
Some poorer residents of rural America say their voices are not being heard as part of the national political dialogue and the presidential election. Continue readingEconomicseconomyElection 2016low-incomeNorth Carolinapovertyrural AmericaSocial StudiesvoterWilkesboro
Student Reporting Labs STEM Lesson Plan: How well are our wells?
In the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab video, “Water Scarcity for New Mexico Natives,” Las Cruces High School students describe climate changes and human activities which impact quality and availability of groundwater. In the lesson plan, students gather information from a low-cost physical model, choose a part of the groundwater and well problem, propose a solution and defend their proposal. Continue readingEPAgroundwaterScienceSRLSTEMstudent reporting labsUnited State Geological SurveyUSGSwaterwells