Haiti cholera epidemic yet to peak: WHO

27th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The World Health Organisation's cholera chief warned on Wednesday that the epidemic in Haiti, which has so far killed 284 people, had not been contained and had yet to pass its peak.

"I don't think that it is contained. We cannot say it is contained," Claire-Lise Chaignat, coordinator of the WHO's Global Task Force on Cholera Control, told journalists.

On Sunday, Haiti's Foreign Minister Marie Michele Rey expressed confidence about tackling the disease and said it appeared to be under control for the time being.

Chaignat said the WHO was recommending that authorities in Haiti prepare for the "worst case scenario", the spread of the cholera bacteria to the capital Port-au-Prince.

Thousands of displaced people there have been living in insalubirous conditions in tightly packed makeshift camps there since the devastating earthquake on January 12, which left 250,000 people dead.

Chaignat also warned that it was "too early to speak about a peak. I think we haven't reached the peak."

The death rate from cholera has decreased, with a case fatality rate now of 7.7 percent compared to 10 percent at the beginning, according to the WHO.

However, that remains well above the UN health agency's accepted threshold of one percent.

More than 3,600 people have been infected in the sudden cholera outbreak in the impoverished Caribbean nation since it was uncovered last week.

© 2010 AFP

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