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UN: Cholera outbreak not contained

rhondathompson, [email protected]

UN: Cholera outbreak not contained

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GENEVA – A senior United Nations health official has warned that the cholera outbreak in Haiti is not yet contained and has stressed the need to continue enhancing treatment, prevention and response preparedness measures.
 Claire-Lise Chaignat, coordinator of the global task force on cholera control at the UN World Health Organization (WHO), told reporters here that these things must be done even in areas that have not been affected by the epidemic.
“I do not think that we have reached the peak of this epidemic,” said Chaignat, adding that the provision of clean drinking water to populations in affected areas was a key control measure.
She said improvement of sanitation facilities, availability of oral rehydration salts for those already infected, and ensuring that people ate food prepared with clean water and in good hygiene conditions are also important control measures.
Chaignat said that 40 per cent of people living along the Artibonite River in Haiti, which is believed to be the sources of the cholera bacteria, have been reached with water chlorination tablets.
As of Wednesday, the UN put the death toll at 284 of the 3,769 cases confirmed, with 96 per cent of cases having been reported in the Artibonite department, and the rest in the Centre department.
Chaignat said the case fatality rate of the outbreak is 7.7 per cent, which is considered high, but is expected to decline as treatment and prevention measures stabilize.  
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Haiti’s health ministry and WHO have developed a strategy to ensure the availability of all basic medical supplies required to respond to the disease and strengthen the capacity of treatment centres and hospitals. (CMC)