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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Haiti Cholera Outbreak Spreads Toward Capital: Hundreds Dead, Thousands Sick

Haiti Cholera Outbreak Spreads Toward Capital: Hundreds Dead, Thousands Sick
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A spreading cholera outbreak in rural Haiti threatened to outpace aid groups as they stepped up efforts Saturday hoping to keep the disease from reaching the squalid camps of earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince.
Health officials said at least 208 people had died and 2,674 others were infected in an outbreak mostly centered in the Artibonite region north of the capital.
But the number of cases in towns near Port-au-Prince were rising, and officials worried the next target will be hundreds of thousands of Haitians left homeless by January's devastating quake and now living in camps across the capital.
"If the epidemic makes its way to Port-au-Prince, where children and families are living in unsanitary, overcrowded camps, the results could be disastrous," said Dr. Estrella Serrano, World Vision's emergency response health and nutrition manager.
Reports trickled in of patients seeking treatment in clinics closer to Port-au-Prince because the St. Nicholas hospital in the seaside city of St. Marc is overflowing, said Margaret Aguirre, an International Medical Corps spokeswoman.

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