Haiti Cholera Outbreak Spreads To Port-au-Prince

British and Haitian Red Cross workers establish an observation center to monitor and treat cholera cases.
British and Haitian Red Cross workers establish an observation center to monitor and treat cholera cases.
British and Haitian Red Cross workers establish an observation center to monitor and treat cholera cases.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The cholera outbreak in Haiti has now spread to the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the Haitian health ministry said on Tuesday.

Doctors in the city are treating 73 people for the water-born disease and medical officials worry that cholera may become a way of life that could afflict as many as 270,000 people over the next several years.

“Cholera is a complex public health emergency under any circumstances,” said Jon Kim Andrus, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization, according to The New York Times. “In Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country, the problem is even more complex.”

Haiti is in a crippled state, as it is still recovering from the earthquake in January that killed more than 250,000 people and left one million homeless, many of whom now live in tent encampments. The country was also hit by Hurricane Tomas last week, which killed 21 people, left 6,610 homeless and caused major flooding that allowed cholera to spread.

The cholera death toll stands now at 583 and 9,123 Haitians have been hospitalized with symptoms of acute diarrhea. Officials in Haiti’s government admitted that the outbreak is evolving and has not yet peaked.

“This is now a matter of national security,” said Dr. Gabriel Timothee, director general of the Ministry of Health, according to The Miami Herald.

The population of Port-au-Prince stands around 2.5 million and 3 million people, with about half  living in homeless encampments built after the earthquake.

“We expect transmission to be extensive and we have to be prepared for it, there’s no question,” Andrus said, according to The Associated Press. “We have to prepare for a large upsurge in numbers of cases and be prepared with supplies and human resources and everything that goes into a rapid response.”

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

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Image: British Red Cross @ Flickr.

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One comment

  1. Cholera in Haiti: Is the United Nations Mission trying to cover up the origin of the epidemic? By Stanley Lucas (Version Francaise disponible)

    Before and after the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti, the country was cholera-free — it never appeared on the global list of countries contaminated by cholera. That all changed in mid-October this year when a cholera outbreak was registered in the lower Central Plateau immediately giving rise to many theories on the origin of the outbreak. Recent developments pinpoint the source to the Nepalese base of United Nations Mission (MINUSTAH) in Haiti. For more click here: http://solutionshaiti.blogspot.com/2010/11/cholera-in-haiti-is-united-nations.html

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