UN and partners responding to rising cholera cases in Haiti’s Ouest province

27 May 2011

Health partners in Haiti are responding promptly to increasing cases of cholera in the Ouest department to ensure that the new infections do not spread to the capital, Port-au-Prince, a spokesperson for the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

“Given the early detection of alerts, a prompt response is under way,” Fadela Chaib, the WHO spokesperson, told reporters in Geneva.

She said the current surge in the number of cases in Ouest department is a reminder of the need for vigilance. “Haiti will be facing cholera for years unless water and sanitation issues are properly fixed,” said Ms. Chaib.

A cholera outbreak that erupted in Haiti in October last year has claimed more than 4,500 lives and nearly 300,000 people fell ill with the disease. Fresh infections continue to occur.

A report by an independent panel set up by the UN to investigate the source of the cholera outbreak concluded that a “confluence of circumstances,” and not the fault of any group or individual, was responsible for the fast-moving outbreak.

The four-member panel of experts included a series of recommendations for the UN and the Haitian Government so they can help prevent the future introduction and spread of cholera.

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Haiti: UN warns rainy season poses challenge to ongoing anti-cholera efforts

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti will continue supporting all efforts to combat the spread of cholera in the Caribbean country, cautioning today that the forthcoming rainy season could pose fresh challenges because of the risk of contamination of water sources.