Haiti Cholera Could Claim 11,000 Lives

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News Americas, New York, NY, Weds. Mar. 16, 2011: The current cholera death toll in Haiti could climb as high as 11,000, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.

Jason Andrews of the Harvard School of Public Health and other researchers, writing in The Lancet, claim the threat from the cholera epidemic in Haiti is much higher than UN agencies projected, and the epidemic is likely to sicken close to 800,000 people.

“Although worldwide estimates of the epidemic at present are based on the assumption that the epidemic will attack 4 percent of the population, this assumption is essentially a guess,” Andrews wrote in the report.

Latest figures from the Haitian government show 231,070 cholera cases and 4,549 deaths. Andrews and colleagues, however, predict the epidemic will affect 779,000 Haitians between March 1 and November 30 of this year.

They recommend reducing consumption of contaminated water by 1 percent; vaccinating 10 percent of the population; and giving antibiotics to all patients with severe dehydration and to half of patients with moderate dehydration to avert 177,000 cases and 3,700 deaths.

Cholera broke out in post-earthquake ravaged Haiti last October, and has now spread across the country. Some Haitians blame UN troops from Nepal for carrying in the infection, but health experts say it’s true source will likely never be known.

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