At least 796 dead in Haiti’s cholera outbreak, up to 200,000 in risk

November 12th, 2010 - 11:31 pm ICT by BNO News  

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (BNO NEWS) — At least 796 people have died in Haiti’s cholera outbreak and up to 200,000 remain at risk, health officials said on Friday.

According to the latest reports, over 11,000 Haitians have been infected with the disease since the outbreak began almost three weeks ago on October 19 in the Bas Artibonite region and in Saint Marc, which rural areas outside the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

The disease was initially contained, but a sudden rise in victims have alarmed health officials and international humanitarian agencies with around 1.3 million Haitians currently living in refugee camps with unsanitary conditions and limited supplies.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) on Thursday said quick response by the Haitian government and international relief efforts have saved many lives.

Nearly half a million water tablets, soap and oral rehydration salts are being distributed, targeting areas where cholera has already been detected, the UN said.

Cholera treatment centers are now open in 15 urban centers across the country, including seven in Port-au-Prince, while the UN Population Fund has distributed nearly 7,000 hygiene kits since the beginning of this month, targeting pregnant women and people living with HIV/AIDS.

However, up to 200,000 people are in risk of contracting cholera, which would double the 100,000 cases reported during the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe between August 2008 and July 2009 that killed over 4,000 people. In addition, the UN said the country needs $163.9 million in aid over the next 12 months to fight the epidemic.

“The strategy anticipates a total of up to 200,000 people to show symptoms of cholera ranging from cases of mild diarrhea to the most severe dehydration,” Elisabeth Byrs of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The World Health Organization reported that death rate continues to be higher than usual - from 6 to 7 percent - although it has not been increasing.

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