UN News Centre:27 May 2011 – Health partners in Haiti are responding promptly to increasing cases of cholera in the Ouest department to ensure that the new infections do not spread to the capital, Port-au-Prince, a spokesperson for the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.
“Given the early detection of alerts, a prompt response is under way,” Fadela Chaib, the WHO spokesperson, told reporters in Geneva.
She said the current surge in the number of cases in Ouest department is a reminder of the need for vigilance. “Haiti will be facing cholera for years unless water and sanitation issues are properly fixed,” said Ms. Chaib.
A cholera outbreak that erupted in Haiti in October last year has claimed more than 4,500 lives and nearly 300,000 people fell ill with the disease. Fresh infections continue to occur.
A report by an independent panel set up by the UN to investigate the source of the cholera outbreak concluded that a “confluence of circumstances,” and not the fault of any group or individual, was responsible for the fast-moving outbreak.
The four-member panel of experts included a series of recommendations for the UN and the Haitian Government so they can help prevent the future introduction and spread of cholera.