Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Haiti hit by cholera outbreak

We’ve previously used the Spanish-language saying “llover sobre mojado” (“raining where its already wet”) to describe the numerous maladies to hit Haiti. The latest woe for the Caribbean nation now involves a cholera outbreak that has killed over 250 people.

The death toll from the outbreak has slowed since it was detected roughly one week ago. A pair of rural provinces, Artibonite and Center, has been especially hit hard though a few cases have already been reported in other regions. As of yesterday the confirmed number of Haitians with cholera has been around 3342, an increase of over 300 compared to Sunday.

Of particular worry to health officials is that the outbreak could become widespread to the capital city of Port-au-Prince, which continues to slowly rebuild after being rocked by a major earthquake last January. "Entry of the disease into the camps will be devastating," said Dr. Louise Ivers, Partners in Health chief of mission in Haiti to ABC News over the possibility that the cholera could spread into relief sites inhabited by thousands of quake survivors. So far only five cholera cases have been reported in Port-au-Prince though Haitian authorities were quick to pint out that they have been isolated and treated.

Officials in the neighboring Dominican Republic are also on high alert to prevent the speared of disease from crossing the border. Authorities have temporarily tightened the restrictions on visiting Haitians though that has created some inconveniences:
Dominican authorities barred Monday the entry of thousands of Haitian merchants and buyers on their way to take part in the traditional binational market that was suspended because of the cholera epidemic affecting Haiti…

The Dominican Republic also blocked Sunday the entrance to its territory to Haitian clergy who were going to take part in a meeting for peace in both countries, religious sources said.
The outbreak comes as the U.N.’s main representative on Human Rights for Internally Displaced Persons warned that “a profound humanitarian crisis” continues in Haiti.

Image- Al Jazeera English
Online Sources- Voice of America, Reuters, The Latin Americanist, ABC News, LAHT

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