A Collier County woman who traveled to visit family in Haiti's disease-stricken Artibonite Valley has become Florida's first local case of cholera transmitted from the beleaguered country, where the disease has killed nearly 1,000 and hospitalized more than 9,000.
``She's doing quite well,'' said Dr. Thomas Torok, a cholera expert in the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Epidemiology. ``Additional cases are under investigation in several counties.''
Torok declined to identify the woman, except to say she does not work in a job that puts her in close contact with the public, so the chance that she might pass on the disease is very small. He said she returned from Haiti about a week ago showing cholera symptoms, and the Collier County Health Department confirmed the case and sent samples on to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for further testing.
Torok also declined to comment further about the additional suspected cases, citing department policy.
Last week, the state health department issued an advisory requiring Florida doctors and hospitals to quickly test patients showing cholera symptoms -- primarily profuse, watery diarrhea, dehydration and fever -- to county health departments.
New cases are expected in Florida because the state has about 241,000 Haitian-born residents, many of whom travel back and forth frequently, particularly since the Jan. 12 earthquake.
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