|The river separating the DR and Haiti. MentalFloss|
In 2014, Mental Floss published an article -- Where Are They Now? Diseases that Used to Kill You in Oregon Trail -- detailing how cholera was the biggest killer in the classic computer game played by most American students in the 1990s.
Despite the iconic game being set in the mid-19th century, it seems to have predicted the current situation on the island of Hispaniola in terms of the diseases a Haitian taking an illegal trail into the Dominican Republic may catch, with cholera currently the biggest killer in the game.
Though Santo Domingo has a somewhat-functional health care system, irregular migrants taking clandestine trails into the wealthier side of the island of Hispaniola have brought Dominican hospitals to their knees under an avalanche of once-eradicated diseases.
According to the oldest Dominican daily, the country has just gone into emergency mode after a three-year-old Haitian child died of diphtheria in San Lorenzo de Los Mina Hospital, located in the capital city of Santo Domingo. The airborne killer can be prevented with a vaccine, but herd immunity may be compromised given the large number of unvaccinated children that have been brought into the country in the wake of the damage caused to Haiti by Hurricane Matthew.
Besides the death of the 3-year-old in Santo Domingo, another 3-year-old has also died of diphtheria in Monte Cristi, on the north-west of the country, potentially indicating that the disease is widespread and could become pandemic in shadow communities.
Despite the threat that diseases from the time of the Oregon Trail pose to Dominican life and to tourism, the government has made no overt effort to seal the border with Haiti.