PORT-AU-PRINCE – The death rate in Haiti’s months-long cholera outbreak has slowed significantly in the last week of reported cases, according to the latest official figures released Wednesday.
The Health Ministry said 3,889 people have died since the discovery of the epidemic in mid-October through January 16 — an increase of 51 deaths in the last five days for which figures were available.
Total infections rose to 194,000 in Haiti, including 109,000 people who have been treated in hospital.
A Health Ministry graphic showed January 12-16 deaths averaging about eight per day, the lowest of any period since the outbreak, with about three deaths recorded on January 15, by far the epidemic’s smallest daily toll.
The previous lowest daily tolls in a single week came January 1-7, when about 17 deaths per day were recorded.
The numbers for recent periods are not final, however. The ministry retroactively updates daily death tolls when new data is gathered.
December 19 marked a daily high of more than 105 fatalities, according to the ministry, which has marked a downward trend in the toll since the new year.
Haiti’s medical response has been severely crippled by the destruction caused by last year’s massive earthquake, which killed more than 220,000 people, left most of Port-au-Prince in ruins, and put more than one million Haitians in squalid camps highly susceptible to the rampant spread of disease.
Haiti’s Wednesday figures put the epidemic’s mortality rate at 2.0 per cent.
The outbreak spawned deadly anti-UN riots in November as some Haitians turned their anger on peacekeepers from Nepal accused of bringing the disease into the Caribbean country.