Cholera spreading in Haiti, deaths top 900

The death toll from Haiti’s cholera epidemic has reached more than 900, and the disease is present in six of the 10 provinces of the earthquake-battered  country, the Health Ministry said yesterday.

An update on the ministry website (www.mspp.gouv.ht) said  there had been 917 deaths and more than 14,600 hospitalized cases since the outbreak began more than three weeks ago in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest state.

The capital, which bore the brunt of destruction from the Jan. 12 earthquake, has recorded 27 deaths up to November 12. The government and its aid partners are fighting to prevent the disease spreading in crowded city slums and tent camps housing over 1.3 million homeless earthquake survivors.

60 seconds with …

Metro speaks with Stefano Zanini, head of mission for Médecins Sans Frontières in Haiti:

What is the situation now in the Haitian capital?

The past few days has seen a troubling increase of suspected cases of cholera in Port-au-Prince. For example, in Choscal hospital in the capital, our staff found 30 cases last Saturday, then 45 on Sunday, then 75 on Monday, so the numbers of suspected cases is more or less doubling day by day.

How have the authorities, as well as the population, been reacting to cholera?

Cholera is a relative unknown in the country, with the last cases of it reported some sixty years ago. The fact that the disease is unknown here means that local medical staff are not familiar with dealing with it and that the local population doesn’t know about its dangers.  mwn/AJ



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