After 8,000 cholera deaths, Haiti faces new epidemic

Scanning electron microscope image of Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which infect the digestive system. Credit: Ronald Taylor, Tom Kirn, Louisa Howard/Wikipedia

Hard-hit by a cholera epidemic that started in 2010, Haiti now faces a new threat in the expanding chikungunya virus, authorities said Wednesday.

"We have had 8,561 deaths from cholera since its reappearance in Haiti in 2010, while 702,892 cases have been confirmed," said Health Minister Florence Duperval.

Now, the that has been spreading in the Caribbean has emerged as another crisis in the poorest country in the Americas.

Transmitted by mosquitoes, the virus causes and severe joint pain, disproportionately striking poorer neighborhoods where homes often have no windows or screens.

"We are putting in place steps to fight the chikungunya outbreak which is being felt almost nationwide," Duperval added.

The measures include fumigation and medications, she said.

There had been no cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years until it was allegedly introduced to the Caribbean nation by Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent there in the wake of the disastrous earthquake in January 2010.

Four years after the violent earthquake, the deeply impoverished nation is still struggling to recover from the widespread devastation that killed 250,000 people.

The tragedy originally left about a million people homeless.

Four years on, nearly 200,000 people are still living in dire conditions in temporary shelters, and residents complain of having received little help since most NGOs left the country.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Haiti offers treatment as virus outbreak surges

May 23, 2014

Haitian health authorities will distribute pain medication to clinics around the country amid a surge in suspected cases of a mosquito-borne virus that is new to the region, a government official said Friday.

Guyana has first cases of virus new to region

May 28, 2014

At least two people have been sickened by the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in Guyana in the first locally transmitted cases in the South American country, the health minister said Wednesday.

Chikungunya poised to invade the Americas

Apr 07, 2014

A team of French and Brazilian researchers warn that chikungunya virus is poised to invade, and become epidemic in the Americas according to research published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

Recommended for you

Sri Lanka celebrates two years without malaria

2 hours ago

Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World ...

Poll: Many doubt hospitals can handle Ebola

6 hours ago

A new poll finds most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they're not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient.

Number of Ebola cases nears 10,000

6 hours ago

The number of people with Ebola is set to hit 10,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the scramble to find a cure gathered pace.

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

6 hours ago

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the ...

User comments