Ecuador wary of cholera epidemic

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A cholera outbreak in the aftermath of El Nino has killed seven people and sickened 1,300 in Ecuador, and health authorities warned on Thursday that it could become an epidemic.
The first cases appeared in early March after El Nino-driven rains caused flooding that washed away infrastructure and left thousands homeless without safe drinking water.
Marcelo Aguilar, director of Ecuador’s Health Ministry, said residents must boil water before drinking it or using it to prepare food, and must wash food well before eating it if they hope to avoid an epidemic.
Cholera, which is spread through contaminated water, causes vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Victims can recover if treated in time.
Ecuador suffered a cholera epidemic in 1991 that killed 710 people and sickened 52,000, according to government figures.