Latest cholera outbreak shows poor trend in public knowledge

By on November 17, 2010

It may be news to you, because it certainly was to me. Cholera is currently taking the lives of innocent people in Haiti.

What is cholera, you might ask. I didn’t know either. According to the Los Angeles Times, it’s a bacteria that rapidly dehydrates people through vomiting and diarrhea and can kill a victim within four hours if not treated immediately.

The same article that gave me this information also said that pits are being dug in the back of cemeteries, that Port-au-Prince hospitals are becoming emergency clinics.

There’s not even a definitive number of victims because it is constantly increasing, that’s how bad it is.

Should I feel ignorant for not knowing about this until it came up on my AOL News homepage days later and then I decided to Google it? Probably.

I’m not sure how many other people on campus know about this, and without meaning to stereotype, I assume that not a lot of people are aware or even care, considering how apathetic college students can be. Sorry, but its true.

We all know about the relief efforts that were put forth during the earthquake in Haiti in January. The cholera outbreak seems just as bad; is it the media’s fault that we’re so uninformed? Or is it our fault for not paying attention to the media?

Regardless, we shouldn’t be pointing fingers as to why we don’t know, because to be frank, it’s our fault for not knowing about this awful disease and outbreak.

I had no idea what cholera was either, until five days after the outbreak when at least 640 people were already dead.

Is that what it takes? Hundreds of people die and then we care to know about the situation? Not only is that awful, it’s pretty pathetic.

It comes back to the same idea of college students caring more about their next party than what’s going on in the news. I guess our wake-up call is the deaths of hundreds of people.

Granted, I’m sure that there are people that know about this situation but it’s safe to assume that many of us don’t.

Even though this situation is far away from us in Hamden, and most of us have little physical connection to those in Haiti, we can still show a little compassion.

We can keep up with the news to ourselves better informed of world events. And we cannot only be knowledgeable of what’s happening, but we can show support and interest – and at least trying not to be ignorant.

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About Christine Burroni

Arts & Life Editor
Email: artslife@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @ChristineBurr
Hometown: Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Year: 2013
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: Writer for a high end magazine