MSF warns of “alarming” resurgence of cholera in Haiti

June 3, 2011, 17:29 GMT

Port-au-Prince – The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned Friday of an ‘alarming resurgence’ of cholera in Haiti, especially in the capital Port-au-Prince.

The cholera epidemic in Haiti broke out in October and has since claimed the lives of  many more than 5,000 people in the poverty-plagued Caribbean country that is still recovering from the mammoth February 2010 earthquake.

‘Although the cholera epidemic began to decline in February, it has not yet ended. In MSF cholera treatment centers (CTCs) in Port-au-Prince, medical teams have witnessed an increase in cases since mid-May,’ the organization said in a statement.

During just one week since May 29, MSF treated close to 2,000 patients in Port-au-Prince, said the organization’s head of mission Romain Gitenet.

‘Workload should be shared and coordinated in order to increase cholera treatment capacity in Haiti. Too many public facilities are still inadequate,’ Gitenet said.

MSF stressed that it is ‘essential’ for Haitian authorities to mobilize ‘to stop the spread of the disease by strengthening national surveillance systems and treatment facilities.’

‘Immediate improvements in hygiene, sanitation, and drinking water supplies should be a national priority, in order to protect the most vulnerable people,’ the organization said.

According to the latest data issued by the Haitian Public Health Ministry, collected until May 29, a total of 5,337 people have died of the cholera in the country, while the number of infections is above 320,000.

The rare bout of cholera in Haiti broke out in the town of Artibonite. After denying it for months, the UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) admitted last month that the epidemic could be traced to the introduction of the bacteria through the feces of its Nepalese personnel, which contaminated the Artibonite river.


Author: `