Expect 200,000 Haiti cholera cases: expert

November 23, 2010

A top health expert warned on Tuesday that Haiti could face as many as 200,000 cases of cholera in the coming three months and needs urgent supplies to treat an explosion of cases of the deadly disease.

"Cholera is virtually everywhere in the country," said Jon Kim Andrus, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization.

"We need to plan for enough supplies to treat as many as 400,000 cholera cases occurring over the next 12 months," Andrus said, adding that almost four times the number of cases already seen could surface in the next quarter.

"We need to plan for up to half of those cases occurring over the next three months because of the explosive nature of this cholera epidemic," he told reporters.

Andrus noted that the Haitian health ministry has reported 56,901 total cases of cholera treated in both hospital and as outpatients, with the diarrhea-causing disease now present in eight of Haiti's 10 departments.

The Caribbean nation ravaged by a catastrophic earthquake in January now battles a spiraling epidemic that has killed 1,415 people and required 25,000 more to be hospitalized, local officials have said.

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