That's a stomach-turning image that tourism officials in the Domincation are desperately trying to fend off as their country's image as a tropical parades gets tarnished by the growing number of cholera cases sweeping the country.

About 32 people in the country have been infected with cholera, which has killed more than 2,300 people and triggered deadly riots in neighboring Haiti.

The tourism industry is training its staff on cholera prevention and is urging visitor not to leave resort areas. Elsewhere, officials have cracked down on the border, which has also been lined with chlorine-soaked mats, and have chlorinated the water supply.

The Ministry of Tourism also sent out a press release earlier this month insisting the country was doing all it could to prevent the spread of cholera. But the number of cases continues to rise, and no one can predict how bad it will get.

Russian officials have expressed concern about Russian tourists traveling to either Haiti or the Dominican Republic, and have said a travel ban is possible.

Eric Munro, owner of Travelwise International in San Diego, Calif., said people are not as concerned as they first were when cholera was first reported in the Dominican Republic on Nov. 17.

The Spanish-speaking country has usually been walled off from the problems of its neighbor, one of the poorest countries in the world. It has stayed at a distance from the coups and earthquakes that have further crippled an already fragile economy.

But the cholera situation is different, experts say. And unless the Dominican Republic, and the world, steps in to help Haiti rather than isolate itself to prevent cholera’s spread, the situation is only going to get worse, said Wilson, the Dominican activist.





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