Today in Latin America
Top Story — A suspected outbreak of Cholera in central Haiti has killed at least 138 people and sickened hundreds more in an overcrowded hospital.
Patients have been suffering from severe diarrhea, which is a symptom of cholera, but health workers are still waiting for tests results to be certain. Doctors at the hospital in St. Marc tested patients for cholera, typhoid and other illnesses in what is the deadliest outbreak of disease in Haiti since January’s devastating earthquake.
Haitian health authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of 138 deaths and 1,526 cases so far in the outbreak centered in the Lower Artibonite region, north of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
Haitian health specialists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are investigating the source of the outbreak and the government has trucked in thousands of gallons of water.
“We have not received any confirmation on what is causing an increase of diarrhea in the lower Artibonite region,” Jessica Duplessi, a spokeswoman with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, according to the Miami Herald. “There has been an increase in cases of severe vomiting and diarrhea, which in particular is quite an epidemic in Haiti. We still don’t know if it’s coming from one central source or not. That is what the doctors and experts are trying to analyze.”
The victims of the disease range in age, but the most affected are the young and the elderly. Some people claim the outbreak is linked to the water in a nearby public canal.
“We just need confirmation of further investigation before we change the labeling and we have a precise diagnosis of the underlying cause,” said Dr. Michel Thieren, senior program management officer with the Pan American Health Organization’s Haiti Office, according to The Miami Herald. “No one can say for sure. We are assisting with all sorts of rumors.”
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- With it the nation’s toughest state immigration law, Arizona has taken center stage in the national debate about immigration as the midterm elections approach. Molly O’Toole reports from Arizona in a three-part series.
- The threat to freedom of the press posed by Mexico’s drug cartels begs a bilateral response, a panel of journalists and press freedom groups said in New York Tuesday. Andrew O’Reilly has more.
- Protesters demand restraints on federal involvement in immigration enforcement in New York City jails, reports Alison Bowen in Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman on Thursday accused her Democratic opponent of lying to voters about her stance on immigration to undercut her support among Latinos.
- The Department of Homeland Security decided not to exercise a one-year option for Boeing to continue work on the U.S.-Mexico border fence involving high-tech cameras, radar and vibration sensors.
- The FBI is investigating the death in Mexico of a man who was a U.S. service member, an agency spokesman said Thursday.
- The European Parliament awarded its annual human rights prize on Thursday to Guillermo Fariñas, the Cuban dissident who undertook a 134-day hunger strike earlier this year.
- Tropical Storm Richard formed Thursday in the Caribbean, with forecasters expecting the storm to intensify into a hurricane by the weekend.
- Colombian public service provider EPM said Thursday it has agreed to acquire Guatemalan utility providers from three companies for $635 million.
- U.S. federal agents arrested 20 foreign nationals who fled their countries after committing crimes, including a Honduran found in South Florida as a suspect in the slaying of a former aide to ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
- Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli arrived in Taiwan Thursday, becoming the first leader of the Central American nation to visit the island in six years.
- Colombia’s oil production rose to its highest level in a decade last month, producing an output of 798,000 barrels per day.
- Rescue workers in Ecuador found the last two bodies of the four miners trapped in a collapsed gold mine.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales claims that the country does not need foreign investors to develop a lithium carbonate project by 2014.
- Brazil’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level ever in September, adding to fears that the government may not meet inflation targets.
- Chilean miner José Ricardo Ojeda Vidal attained the copywrite for the note sent to surface letting the world know “los 33” were alive.
- Thousands of people in Argentina protested the killing of labor activist Mariano Ferreyra, who was shot dead during a clash between rival groups of railway workers.
Image: Nite_Owl @ Flickr.