Haiti cholera toll surpasses 2,400: ministry

Haiti's cholera death toll has jumped by some 210 people, with more than 2,400 now having succumbed to the epidemic, health officials said Wednesday, after days of hope that the outbreak had begun to taper off.

The health ministry in its latest figures listed 2,405 deaths since the infections began in the impoverished nation in mid-October. More than 54,500 people have been treated in hospital, out of a total of 109,196 cases.

Last Friday the toll had reached 2,193, after a series of tolls of 27 and 26 deaths per day suggested that the waterborne disease could be relinquishing its grip on the quake-hit nation.

Those numbers from last week had represented the first time for a month that authorities had recorded less than 30 people dying from on two consecutive days -- after daily November tolls of 60, 70 and even 80 and above.

The , Haiti's first in more than a century, spawned deadly anti-UN riots last month as a desperate populace turned its anger on international peacekeepers accused of bringing the disease into the country.

The Nepalese army has reacted angrily and said there is no evidence to support allegations the cholera emanated from septic tanks at their base in the Artibonite valley, where the vast majority of cases and deaths have been recorded.

The United Nations said Wednesday it would soon name an international panel to investigate the origin of the epidemic.

A team of US and Haitian researchers confirmed last week that the outbreak was likely sparked by a human source from outside the region.

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(c) 2010 AFP

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