Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mass. General Hospital to Deploy Staff to Haiti in Response to Rising Cholera Cases

Boston—On Sunday, July 17, The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Global Health will deploy six clinicians to Hospital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti, in response to resurging cases of cholera. The team, which will deploy in conjunction with Project Hope, includes five nurses and a physician who will be tasked with treating infected patients, training front line health workers, and educating at-risk populations.  

“The situation in Haiti is still quite dire,” says Larry Ronan, MD, MGH physician and director of the Durant Fellowship in Refugee Medicine. “Infectious diseases like cholera thrive on poor sanitation, limited resources, and lack of training and education. To combat this recent resurgence, our team will be working to address each of these issues.”

The clinicians include Marjorie Curran, MD, Grace Deveney, RN, MPH, Katherine Fillo, RN, MPH, April Kaufman, RN, Colleen Shea, RN, and Susan Taricani, RN. They will join Kerry Quealy, RN, BSN, an MGH nurse who is already in Haiti working to reduce cases of cholera as the 2011 Thomas S. Durant Fellow in Refugee Medicine.

Cholera cases in Haiti, which had slowed over the past several months, have begun to rise in a nation still reeling from the January 2010 earthquake. In December of that same year, a multi-center team led by researchers from MGH concluded that the strain of cholera affecting Haiti matched bacterial samples from South Asia, and not Latin America, as previously thought. According to a report from the World Health Organization, there were 344 623 cases of cholera and 5397 related deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in October 2010.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of nearly $700 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, reproductive biology, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.

More on the MGH Center for Global Health Disaster Response and Relief:

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Mike Morrison, 617-726-6425;

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