Port-au-Prince – Haitian health authorities said Tuesday that 2,591 people have now died from the cholera epidemic that has afflicted the poverty-stricken Caribbean country since mid-October.
A total of 121,518 people have been affected by the outbreak, of whom 63,711 had to be hospitalized, though 61,917 of them have since been released from doctors’ care, according to the latest bulletin from the health ministry.
The epidemic has spread to all of Haiti’s 10 provinces, but the hardest hit is Artibonite in the northwest, where more than 800 people have died of the disease.
Cholera, which has affected 62 people in the neighboring Dominican Republic, first appeared last October in the central city of Mirebalais.
A French medical study said that the outbreak was caused by human waste being dumped in a river by a camp of Nepalese soldiers, members of the U.N. Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti, or Minustah.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that he will name a group of scientific experts to investigate the origin of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which had been free of the disease for decades.
The epidemic is adding to the burdens of a Haiti struggling to recover from a Jan. 12 earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people and left a million homeless.