Saturday 23 October 2010

Haiti - cholera strikes

Back in January, there were fears that the devastating Haiti earthquake might be followed by epidemics, particularly of cholera. Nine months later, the disease has finally arrived.

So far there have been more than 2,600 cases, and nearly 200 people have died. The areas affected are about 60 miles from the heavily populated capital, Port-au-Prince, where tens of thousands of people are still living in crowded tents with poor sanitation and little access to clean drinking water, though there are suspected cases in a suburb of the capital.

Officials say the victims were infected through drinking contaminated river water. Hospitals have been overwhelmed and for a time people were being treated in car parks. The World Health Organisation says this is the first time cholera has struck Haiti in a century.

See also my blogs of Jan 31, 2009 and Jan 14, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23 and 24; July 12 and Aug 26, 2010. The new paperback edition of A Disastrous History of the World also contains a section on the earthquake.

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