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142 dead in Haiti cholera outbreak

10-23-2010 08:14 BJT

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At least 142 people have died in a major outbreak of cholera in Haiti. Aid organizations are rushing in medicine and other supplies, to combat the deadliest threat to public health since the devastating earthquake in January.

The outbreak occurred in northwest Haiti, in the rural Artibonite region. Here, many thousands of quake refugees still live in squalid conditions.

Many of the sick converged on St Nicholas hospital, in the seaside city of Saint Marc. Hundreds of dehydrated patients await treatment. Doctors at the hospital say more personnel are urgently needed to handle the situation.

The Director of the country's Health Ministry says laboratory tests have confirmed the outbreak to be cholera. 142 people have already died and more than a thousand are hospitalized.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says the government is very worried about the disease spreading.

Jean-Max Bellerive, Haitian Prime Minister, said, "It is the first time that we have any cases of cholera in Haiti so we are making all the epidemiologic studies to determine from where it came. As you surely know, most of the cases are found in the border of the Artibonite river and so it's a infections so we have to determine from where it comes."

Cholera is a waterborne bacterial infection spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours.

There have been no cholera outbreaks in Haiti for decades. The exact cause of the current outbreak is being investigated.



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