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Michael D. McDonald's picture

The mission of this working group is to develop a clinical and environmental laboratory network in Haiti.

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As Microcephaly Rises in Haiti, Doctors Fear Zika Is A Sleeping Giant


Chinashama Sainvilus is one of three babies born with microcephaly at the Mirebalais Hospital in Haiti in July.
Jason Beaubien/NPR - by Jason Beaubien - August 31, 2016

. . . Chinashama is one of three babies born with microcephaly at the Mirebalais Hospital in July. The Haitian Ministry of Health says there have been 11 others born nationwide over the last two months with this usually rare birth defect. But only one has been officially confirmed as a result of the Zika virus.


GHESKIO Opens New Tuberculosis Hospital in Haiti

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 23 commemorates the opening of GHESKIO's new tuberculosis hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. - March 27, 2015

In a major advance in the fight against drug-resistant tuberculosis, the Haitian Study Group on Opportunistic Infections and Kaposi's Sarcoma, or GHESKIO, has opened a state-of-the-art hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to treat patients suffering from the disease.

The hospital's opening comes five years after a catastrophic earthquake crippled Haiti's infrastructure and destroyed the five major TB hospitals in the capital city, including the one run by GHESKIO. GHESKIO is a nongovernmental service, research and training center that operates in partnership with Weill Cornell Medical College and the Haitian Ministry of Health. It provides integrated primary care services, including HIV counseling, AIDS care, prenatal care and management of TB, cholera and other infectious diseases, as well as global health and educational services to more than 500,00 of the poorest Haitians. Since its inception in 1982, GHESKIO has become one of the largest AIDS and TB treatment centers in the Americas.

Reporting on Public Health Progress in Haiti


Division of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research (Direction d’Epidémiologie, de Laboratoire et de Recherches or DELR) - by Terri Heyns - March 28, 2014

Just over a year ago, I traveled to Haiti with the CDC Foundation to commemorate the completion of two new public health buildings supported through donations to the CDC Foundation, the central office of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the headquarters of the Division of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research (DELR). Both buildings marked a milestone in the country’s recovery and reconstruction since the earthquake.

Since that visit, Haiti’s health minister has moved into her new office and phase one of the new ministry compound, with space for roughly 250 employees, is operational.


Research - Clues to Cholera Resistance - Evidence that Genetic Changes May Offer Protection

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Natural Selection in a Bangladeshi Population from the Cholera-Endemic Ganges River Delta

(ALSO SEE RELATED LINKS BELOW) - by Peter Reuell - July 22, 2013

Researchers have long understood that genetics can play a role in susceptibility to cholera, but a team of Harvard scientists is now uncovering evidence of genetic changes that might also help protect some people from contracting the deadly disease.

Based on genetic data gathered from hundreds of people in Bangladesh, a research team made up of Harvard faculty and scientists from the Broad Institute and the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) was able to identify a number of areas in the genome — some are responsible for certain immune system functions, others are connected to fluid loss — that appear to be related to cholera resistance. Later tests showed genetic differences between people who had contracted the disease and those who had been exposed, but never became ill. The results are described in a paper published this month in Science Translational Medicine.

The Link Between Saris and Cholera


Rita Colwell, shown here in the laboratory, helped discover that simple filtration can be a key to reducing cholera. - by Kelly Murray - June 5, 2013

Dr. Rita Colwell has studied cholera for nearly 50 years, and has written more than 700 publications and received at least 40 honorary degrees. The former director of the National Science Foundation and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Colwell is currently a distinguished professor at both the University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.

CNN spoke with Colwell about her research and how she and her team helped develop an incredibly simple method to help the people of rural Bangladesh have cleaner, safer drinking water. The following is an edited portion of that interview.


Evolutionary Dynamics of Vibrio Cholerae O1 Following a Single-Source Introduction to Haiti - July 2, 2013


Prior to the epidemic that emerged in Haiti in October of 2010, cholera had not been documented in this country. After its introduction, a strain of Vibrio cholerae O1 spread rapidly throughout Haiti, where it caused over 600,000 cases of disease and >7,500 deaths in the first two years of the epidemic. We applied whole-genome sequencing to a temporal series of V. cholerae isolates from Haiti to gain insight into the mode and tempo of evolution in this isolated population of V. cholerae O1. Phylogenetic and Bayesian analyses supported the hypothesis that all isolates in the sample set diverged from a common ancestor within a time frame that is consistent with epidemiological observations. A pangenome analysis showed nearly homogeneous genomic content, with no evidence of gene acquisition among Haiti isolates.

Health: Tense Situation Between the Dominican Republic and Haiti - June 11, 2013

Monday, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Dominican Ministry of Public Health and the Directorate General of Livestock confirmed in a joint statement, that they they have not recorded a single case of bird flu or swine flu in the Dominican Republic.

For Freddy Hidalgo, the Dominican Minister of Public Health and Lilian Reneau, local representative of PAHO, there is "a confusion in the information on the presence of this virus in the Dominican Republic." Octavio de la Maza, the Deputy Director of Livestock in the Dominbican Republic attributed to "speculation" the allegations of the presence of the virus in the country.

For José Del Castillo Savinon, the Dominican Minister of Industry and Commerce it is clear that the Haitian authorities have confused the virus A / H1N1 human influenza (not transmitted to animals) with other strains, which relate to animals).


Haiti Cholera Mutations Could Lead to More Severe Disease


submitted by Ted Kaplan - April 16, 2013
Analysis of Vibrio cholerae Genome Sequences Reveals Unique rtxA Variants in Environmental Strains and an rtxA-Null Mutation in Recent Altered El Tor Isolates - April 16, 2013

CHICAGO --- The cholera strain that transferred to Haiti in 2010 has multiple toxin gene mutations that may account for the severity of disease and is evolving to be more like an 1800s version of cholera, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

The strain, "altered El Tor," which emerged around 2000, is known to be more virulent and to cause more severe diarrhea and dehydration than earlier strains that had been circulating since the 1960s. This study reports the altered El Tor strain has acquired two additional signature mutations during the past decade that may further increase virulence.


U.S. and Haitian Governments Inaugurate Two New Public Health Buildings

New Public Health building - February 26, 2013

On Monday, February 25, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White, CDC Director Tom Frieden, Haitian Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Florence D. Guillaume, representatives from donor partners as well as other U.S. and Haitian officials attended the inauguration of two new public health buildings in Port-au-Prince.  These buildings were supported through a partnership between CDC, CDC Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Proteus On-Demand and the medical technology company BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company).

Cholera Discovery Could Revolutionize Antibiotic Delivery - October 19, 2012 - (SEE LINK TO RESEARCH PAPER BELOW)

Three Simon Fraser University scientists are among six researchers who've made a discovery that could help revolutionize antibiotic treatment of deadly bacteria.

Lisa Craig, Christopher Ford and Subramaniapillai Kolappan, SFU researchers in molecular biology and biochemistry, have explained how Vibrio cholerae became a deadly pathogen thousands of years ago.

Two genes within V. cholerae's genome make it toxic and deadly. The bacterium acquired these genes when a bacterial virus or bacteriophage called CTX-phi infected it.

The SFU researchers and their colleagues at the University of Oslo and Harvard Medical School propose that a Trojan horse-like mechanism within V. cholerae enabled CTX-phi to invade it.

The CTX-phi latches onto a long, hair-like pilus filament floating on the surface of V. cholerae. The filament then retracts, pulling the toxin-gene-carrying CTX-phi inside the bacterium where it binds to TolA, a protein in the bacterial wall.

The process transforms V. cholerae into a deadly human pathogen.


Haiti - Health : Quality Control of Food Products - October 13, 2012

Quality control of foodstuffs, whether import or export is a priority of the government, to this end, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), Thursday organized a workshop on laboratory accreditation in Haiti, in order to ensure to the consumers, the quality control of food products consumed locally or for export.

Mr. Luc Espéca, Director General of MCI explained "[...] Haiti needs to establish an infrastructure of quality control. An infrastructure of quality has laboratories, it is necessary to certify and accredit them.


Cholera Depends on the Blood Group - X-ray Chemist Solves Cholera Mystery


X-RAY VISION: Professor Ute Krengel and PhD Candidate Julie Heggelund use a small x-ray machine at the Department of Chemistry to find the molecular structure of the cholera toxin. Photo: Yngve Vogt

University of Oslo - by Yngve Vogt- August 27, 2012

The likelihood of becoming seriously ill from cholera depends on your blood group. It is possible to find a new remedy for the feared illness by studying the molecular structure in the toxin in the cholera bacteria.

'Patients with blood group O are most at risk of becoming seriously ill. Those with blood groups A, B or AB are more protected against cholera', says Ute Krengel.


CDC - Study - Chloroquine-Resistant Malaria in Travelers Returning from Haiti after 2010 Earthquake

Volume 18, Number 8—August 2012


We investigated chloroquine sensitivity to Plasmodium falciparum in travelers returning to France and Canada from Haiti during a 23-year period. Two of 19 isolates obtained after the 2010 earthquake showed mixed pfcrt 76K+T genotype and high 50% inhibitory concentration. Physicians treating malaria acquired in Haiti should be aware of possible chloroquine resistance.


Study - Chloroquine-Resistant Malaria in Travelers Returning from Haiti after 2010 Earthquake

Cholera Superbug Found

CDC - Emerging Infectious Diseases -August 2012
Volume 18, Number 8

Abstract - Study - Conclusions

Third-Generation Cephalosporin–Resistant Vibrio cholerae, India

Cholera Superbug Found

In a major cause for concern, a new strain of cholera bacterium resistant to third generation antibiotics has been found to be circulating in India.

This cholera bacterial strain contains two super bug genes, including the notorious New Delhi Metallo beta-lactamase-1 (blaNDM-1). The other super bug gene is plasmid-mediated beta-lactamase-1 (blaDHA-1).

Thanks to these two super bug genes, the new cholera bacterial strain (O1 El Tor Ogawa) has developed resistance to a majority of known antibiotics.


Third-Generation Cephalosporin–Resistant Vibrio cholerae, India

Cuba Ministry of Public Health Confirms the Presence of Enterotoxigenic Tor Vibrio Cholerae O1, Serotype Ogawa - July 14, 2012


Information note by the Ministry of Public Health

On 2 July, the Ministry of Public Health reported the presence of an outbreak of cholera in the municipality of Manzanillo, Granma province. Since then, through radio and television territory, maintaining the population informed on the evolution of the epidemiological situation and in particular, preventive measures and hygiene to comply.

So far, there are a total of 158 people from the clinical, epidemiological and laboratory culture, it has confirmed the presence of enterotoxigenic Tor Vibrio cholerae O1, serotype Ogawa. There have been no new deaths, keeping the number of three adults as reported.

The measures taken have allowed the waterborne outbreak, is declining, with no evidence of disease spread by food or other means.

As a result of the surveillance system on acute diarrheal diseases typical of summer, isolated cases have been diagnosed in other regions of the country of people who became infected in Manzanillo, and studied to be treated promptly, with no spread of this outbreak.

Professor Virginia Cornish Chemically Engineers Yeast to Detect Cholera

Chemistry Professor Virginia Cornish - June 19, 2012

Modern science is immensely complex, but Professor Virginia Cornish had a simple idea for solving a big problem.

The problem was cholera, which infects about four million people annually and kills at least 100,000, most of them children under age 5. Inspired by a research proposal from one of her doctoral students, Cornish, the Helena Rubinstein Professor of Chemistry, has set her lab to engineering a simple yeast—not unlike the kind used to make beer or bread—to detect cholera-causing bacteria in water supplies and the feces of infected people.

“If we can buy Fleischmann’s Yeast in the grocery store, why not make a freeze-dried yeast available that can detect cholera?” asked Cornish. “We want to enable a nontechnical person, in the simplest setting, to be able to safely and easily use this—not in a lab but in their home.”

leiderman: cholera news and correspondence recap, mid-june'12, thank you

The following chronology plus the attached are concerns and responses across my desk in the past week to continuing efforts among many to understand and become a match for the cholera epidemic in Haiti. These were supplemented by telephone calls.

The signing of an international and interagency water/sanitation/anti-cholera declaration for Haiti and the Dominican Republic will be held June 29 at the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C. Attendance details below.

Thank you,

Stuart Leiderman

- - - - - - -

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 14:10:07 GMT

Dear Community leaders,

I hope that this e-mail will find you in very good spirit.

Video - Laurent Lamothe Meets the American Red Cross to Engage Pledged Moneys in Benefiting the Haitian People Now

See video

"There are two objectives for meeting the Red Cross.  The first objective is to thank the Red Cross for all the efforts deployed in Haiti during the earthquake.  The second objective is that the Red Cross collected more than 1.13 billion dollars for Haiti and there are still several hundred million left.  So we came here with our team to discuss our priorities and where we would like the Red Cross to allocate these funds that they have for Haiti according to the priorities of the Haitian government and the Haitian people.  We came to talk to them, work alongside with them according to the priorities of the Haitian people."

youtube - June 13, 2012

50-Year Cholera Mystery Solved by Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin - May 29, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — For 50 years scientists have been unsure how the bacteria that gives humans cholera manages to resist one of our basic innate immune responses. That mystery has now been solved, thanks to research from biologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

The answers may help clear the way for a new class of antibiotics that don’t directly shut down pathogenic bacteria such as V. cholerae, but instead disable their defenses so that our own immune systems can do the killing.

Every year cholera afflicts millions of people and kills hundreds of thousands, predominantly in the developing world. The infection causes profuse diarrhea and vomiting. Death comes from severe dehydration.

“If you understand the mechanism, the bacterial target, you’re more likely to be able to design an effective antibiotic,” says Stephen Trent, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and lead researcher on the study.

CDC Study Shows Haiti Cholera Has Changed, Experts Say It Suggests Disease Becoming Endemic

The Washington Post - Associated Press - May 3, 2012

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The cholera strain in Haiti is evolving, researchers reported Thursday, a sign that it may be taking deeper root in the nation less than two years after it appeared and killed thousands of people.

The study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the bacterium is changing as survivors acquire at least some immunity to the original bug, which apparently was imported from Nepal.

Cholera experts also say such a development is expected and has happened in cholera epidemics around the world.


Notes from the Field - Identification of Vibrio cholerae Serogroup O1, Serotype Inaba, Biotype El Tor Strain — Haiti, March 2012

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