Haiti to test cholera vaccine

October 19, 2011

Haiti's health ministry is preparing to test a cholera vaccine on a hundred people, a year after an epidemic killed over 6,500 people, officials said Wednesday.

Over a hundred people from a Port-au-Prince shantytown and a in the center of the country, where the disease was first identified in 2010, will be given the vaccine.

"The Shanchol vaccine will be administered orally to the patients in two doses at six-month intervals. It has been approved by the but it won't replace better informing the public," health ministry director general Gabriel Timothe told AFP.

A year after a South Asian strain of cholera was found in Haiti, the infection has made new inroads in remote northern and southern parts of the country.

"There is a low level of mortality. We will deploy teams to intensify our hygiene information campaign," Timothe said.

But aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres deemed the Haitian measures insufficient to beat back cholera.

"The Haitian authorities and the international humanitarian community need to work harder to treat and prevent cholera," said Romain Gitenet, chief of mission in Haiti.

Gerard Bedock, also of MSF, said the disease was still an in Haiti and urged sanitary authorities to keep cholera isolation and treatment units at .

MSF, which has treated over 160,000 Haitians affected by the disease, warned that cholera could remain in Haiti for years to come.

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