Cholera death toll in Haiti rises to 253

10:12, 25 October 2010
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Haiti is now scrambling...

The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Haiti has risen to 253, said the country`s health department on Sunday, according to Xinhua.

Gabriel Thimote, director-general of Haiti`s Health Department, told a news conference a total of 3,015 cases have been reported so far in the impoverished island nation that is still recovering from January`s devastating earthquake.

"We have registered a diminishing in numbers of deaths and of hospitalized people in the most critical areas...The tendency is that it is stabilizing, without being able to say that we have reached a peak," said Thimote.

Health officials said most of the death cases were reported in the Artibonite region, north of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

They also said at least five people tested positive for cholera in Port-au-Prince, where about 1.3 million survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake packed in squalid camps.

UN officials said the five cases, the first confirmed in the capital since the epidemic started, were people who had become infected in the main outbreak zone of Artibonite before they traveled to the capital.

Haiti is now scrambling to contain the worst health emergency since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in January killed about 250,000 people and also the first cholera epidemic in the country in a century.

For months, international aid organizations have warned that any outbreak of disease in Haiti could spread rapidly due to poor sanitary conditions in the camps where people have little access to clean water.

Cholera, a waterborne bacterial infection, is transmitted mainly through drinking contaminated water and unsanitary conditions. The Artibonite River, which irrigates Haiti`s rural center and provides water for thousands of people, is believed to be contaminated.

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