Death toll from cholera surpasses 500 in Haiti: official

November 7, 2010

The death toll from Haiti's cholera epidemic has surpassed 500 dead, the Haitian Health Ministry reported on its website Saturday.

The ministry's latest numbers showed the number of dead rising to 501, from 442 on November 3, and hospitalizations for cholera now totaling 7,359, up from 6,742.

Although easily treated, cholera has a short -- sometimes just a few hours -- and causes acute watery diarrhea that can quickly lead to severe and death.

The outbreak was the first time cholera was confirmed in Haiti in decades.

Authorities now fear that the epidemic could accelerate as it is borne by floods and standing water left by Tomas, which swept Haiti with hurricane force on Friday.

Some 1.3 million people out of a population of just under 10 million are living in tents, refugee camps and under the open sky. Aid agencies warn that could spread like wildfire in such conditions, with people living elbow-to-elbow, cooking and bathing in close quarters.

Haiti was the poorest country in the Americas even prior to the January 2010 earthquake that killed some 250,000 people and flattened much of the capital.

In some local hospitals, patients were washing their hands with freshly cut lemons, believing this would help disinfect them. Aid agencies and the Haitian government were urging further steps to prevent the outbreak's spread, with anti-bacterial lotion and tools to prepare food without infected water.

The source of the remains unclear, though the UN peacekeeping force MINUSTAH was investigating claims its septic tanks leaked into the Artibonite River and contaminated it with .

Related Stories

Recommended for you

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu

October 19, 2017
In 2013, an influenza virus that had never before been detected began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and in late 2016, the number of people to become sick from the H7N9 virus ...

Migraines may be the brain's way of dealing with oxidative stress

October 19, 2017
A new perspective article highlights a compelling theory about migraine attacks: that they are an integrated mechanism by which the brain protects and repairs itself. Recent insightful findings and potential ways to use them ...

Flu simulations suggest pandemics more likely in spring, early summer

October 19, 2017
New statistical simulations suggest that Northern Hemisphere flu pandemics are most likely to emerge in late spring or early summer at the tail end of the normal flu season, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational ...

New insights into herpes virus could inform vaccine development

October 18, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered new insights into the mechanisms of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, as well as two antibodies that block the virus' entry into cells. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National ...

Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments

October 17, 2017
Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning.

Portable 3-D scanner assesses patients with elephantiasis

October 17, 2017
An estimated 120 million people worldwide are infected with lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic, mosquito-borne disease that can cause major swelling and deformity of the legs, a condition known as elephantiasis. Health-care ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.