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Florida Woman Back from South America Has Cholera, Another Case Suspected

April 27, 1991

MIAMI (AP) _ A Florida woman who recently visited South America was confirmed to have cholera Friday and health officials suspected a second case in the United States.

Cholera has reached epidemic proportions in South America, killing more than 1,000 people in Peru and spreading into Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Brazil.

The woman, who had visited Ecuador, was treated for the disease in a hospital and is recovering at home, said Miriam Ayers, a spokeswoman for the Dade County Health Department.

Test results were expected in 12 days for a Dade County man who recently visited Peru and has symptoms of cholera. The man was also hospitalized.

Health officials wouldn’t release the victims’ names, but said they posed no threat to other people.

Cholera is an intestinal disease that causes extreme diarrhea and vomiting and can be fatal. Lack of safe water, clean food and sanitation have spread the disease.

South America’s epidemic threatens about a quarter of the region’s population, or up to 120 million people, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The agency’s director-general, Hiroshi Nakajima, said the epidemic was a health emergency and announced the creation of a WHO task force to develop a worldwide strategy for helping countries fight cholera.

Providing safe water and sanitation in Latin America could require a $50 billion investment over the next decade, he said.

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