The death toll from Haiti’s cholera epidemic has risen to at least 4,030 more than three months after the disease broke out in the country’s Artibonite Valley, the health ministry said.
The number of cholera cases in Haiti totalled 209,034 as of January 24, the ministry said.
The severity of the epidemic has diminished over time, but the ministry’s figures show that Haitians are still dying from the bacterial infection, which can strike swiftly with intense diarrhoea and vomiting leading to dehydration and sometimes death.
In the latest twist in the evolution of the epidemic, Haitian and international health officials are investigating a cluster of cases of paralysis in recovering cholera patients within days of them being discharged from a treatment centre.
“Experts, including toxicologists, are investigating possible contamination at a hospital or at home from medication, food, or another source as the cause of death in these cases,” the Pan American Health Organisation said.
Another possible cause is polio, it said, but officials believe that is highly unlikely because polio is rarely lethal and three of the four patients who suffered paralysis died.
The health crisis broke out in mid-October as Haiti was struggling to recover from a 7.0-magnitude quake that killed more than 220,000 people, left 1.3 million homeless, and the capital in ruins.
While the epidemic is subsiding in Haiti, Venezuelan authorities announced emergency measures on Thursday after 452 Venezuelans were exposed to cholera at a wedding on Saturday in the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti.
There were at least 37 confirmed cholera cases among Venezuelans returning from the wedding, and officials in Caracas were trying to track down more than 400 others known to have attended the event.
Something wrong with these totals!!!
With the level of treatment available in Haiti the percentages should be much higher than reported…and, much of the nation has not received any treatment at all. People simply die, unnoticed, in isolated communities.
With over 200,000 admitted victims, the death toll should be closer to 10,000…or 20,000. Are the agencies understating in order to reduce the perceived threat, or the level of their incompetence.
In Haiti’s Northwest, the government medical representative took rehydration powders away from operating ONGs in his area. He sold these on the Port-au-Prince market for almost $1.00 per dose, while the people in his area did without.
There should be an investigation here!!