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Cholera outbreak in Haiti ‘stabilising’
PORT-AU-PRINCE, oct, 25 (Agencies)
Published on 25 Oct. 2010 11:42 PM IST
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: Health officials have said there are signs that the cholera outbreak in central Haiti may be stabilising.
Although the death toll moved past 250 with more than 3,000 people infected, fewer cases were reported.
Five were detected on Saturday in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but they were quickly diagnosed and isolated.
Officials say the disease is a serious threat to the 1.3 million survivors of January’s earthquake who are living in tented camps surrounding the city.
The poor sanitary conditions make them vulnerable to cholera, which is caused by bacteria transmitted through contaminated water or food.
Cholera causes diarrhoea and vomiting leading to severe dehydration, and can kill quickly if left untreated through rehydration and antibiotics.
On Sunday, the director general of Haiti’s health department, Gabriel Thimote, said the number of people who had died in the outbreak was rising, but more slowly than during the previous 24 hours.
“We have registered a diminishing in numbers of deaths and of hospitalised people in the most critical areas,” he told reporters.
“The tendency is that it is stabilising, without being able to say that we have reached a peak,” he added.
Mr Thimote also expressed optimism the outbreak could be contained.
“It’s not difficult to prevent the spread to Port-au-Prince.”
The five victims isolated in the capital had become infected in the Artibonite region - the main outbreak zone - and then travelled there, the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
“These cases thus do not represent a spread of the epidemic because this is not a new location of infection,” it explained, adding that the development was nevertheless “worrying”.
Sarah Jacobs, of the charity Save The Children, told the BBC that although there were encouraging signs, the situation remained highly dangerous.
“There are still hundreds of thousands of people living in extremely bad conditions in the capital and the key thing now is to prevent this disease from spreading,” she said.
Ms Jacobs said that informing the public would be crucial.
Haitian officials said more households were following advice on drinking clean water and taking care with personal hygiene.

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