Health departments in Haiti have issued alerts on a looming cholera outbreak in the troubled Caribbean nation.
Haiti’s cholera epidemic began just ten months after the devastating earthquake that shook the country in 2010. This year alone, there’s been an outbreak of 16,000 cases according to the country’s health ministry. The result has been roughly 175 deaths, and at least 27 deaths in April and May alone.
Health centres have been set up in and around Port-au-Prince, among other sites.
“Last night, we had 19 patients. Fifteen of them have been cured, and they went home this morning. Some of them spent a week here at the centre. But we’ve received other cholera patients who arrived here today. For now, there are nine or ten patients. Depending on the case, the centre could take on many more before the end of the day,” said doctor Bourguinon Wilbert.
Last night, we had 19 (cholera) patients. Fifteen of them have been cured, and they went home this morning.
The persistent problem has been termed the “largest and most explosive cholera epidemic in modern times,” according to health journal, Outbreak News Today.
Since the epidemic began, there have been roughly 10,000 deaths.
Scientists and journalists have conclusively proven that the cholera was brought to the country by UN peacekeepers from Nepal where cholera is common. It is said that sewage from the UN camp leaked into a nearby river and was dumped in an open pit, where it started spreading to Haiti’s towns and cities.
The UN was faulted by several global bodies over the outbreak, but refused to acknowledge its culpability. It formally rejected compensation claims in February 2013.
Before this outbreak, Haiti had no single documented case of cholera since the 1960s.