Published: Nov 04, 2010 4:55 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 04, 2010 1:55 PM EDT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Florida's health department is asking doctors statewide to report possible cases of cholera in people who recently traveled to Haiti.

In a letter, the Florida Department of Health asks doctors to phone in reports of watery diarrhea in people who have recently visited Haiti. The agency also asks them to collect swabs and send them to a state laboratory.

Officials said travel between Florida and Haiti has increased since an earthquake struck the Caribbean country in January. The letter tells doctors that some travelers may develop the symptoms of cholera en route to or shortly after arriving in Florida.

A growing cholera epidemic in Haiti has killed at least 442 people the past three weeks. More than 6,742 people have been hospitalized with fever, diarrhea and vomiting.