Medicine: Cholera in the Philippines

"Today, no one should die of cholera," said the Philippines' Health Secretary Francisco Q. Duque last week. But, he added, a cholera epidemic now rages in 37 of the Philippines' 55 provinces. Out of more than 10,000 Filipinos stricken, 1,228 have died. Even with urgently needed international help, there will probably be many new cases for six months more.

An unusual combination of medical complexities and political maneuvering conspired to make the Philippines so vulnerable. A disease that is completely preventable (by keeping water and food free of contamination by sewage), cholera has...

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