Haiti Confirms Scores Of Deaths Due To Cholera Outbreak

by
michal
(BBC)

The victims suffered diarrhoea, acute fever and vomiting. More than 1,500 people were infected, officials said.

President Rene Preval said his government was taking steps to ensure the disease did not spread further.

There are fears the outbreak could reach the camps around the capital for survivors of January's earthquake.

The quake killed some 250,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Tens of thousands of people are still living in crowded tent cities with poor sanitation and little access to clean drinking water.

Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by bacteria transmitted through contaminated water or food. The source of contamination is usually the faeces of infected people.

It causes diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to severe dehydration, and can kill quickly if left untreated. It is easily treated though rehydration and antibiotics, however.

""I can confirm it is cholera,"" President Preval told Reuters news agency.

""Now we are making sure people are fully aware of precautionary measures they have to take to prevent contamination""

The director general of the health department, Dr Gabriel Thimote, said the worst-affected areas were Douin, Marchand Dessalines and areas around Saint-Marc, about 100km (60 miles) north of Port-au-Prince.

Local hospitals were ""overwhelmed"", and a number of people were being evacuated to clinics in other areas, he added.