25 Oct 2010

Cholera casualties rise in Haiti

3:48 pm on 25 October 2010

Relief agencies have stepped up efforts to try to contain a cholera outbreak that has already killed 253 people in Haiti.

Aid agency Oxfam says it will distribute soap, water tablets and rehydration salt packs to 25,000 Haitians as part of the effort to rein in the outbreak of the disease.

World Vision has also sent teams to distribute emergency health supplies and address cholera preventative measures.

Health Department director-general Gabriel Thimote said on Sunday that 3015 people have been infected, but fewer new cases have been reported in the past 24 hours.

The outbreak began around a week ago in central rural regions straddling the Artibonite river.

Officials are also dealing with the first confirmed cases detected in the capital Port-au-Prince. These patients had travelled south to the city from the Artibonite region.

It is feared cholera could spread rapidly through makeshift camps set up in the capital after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on 12 January.

Doctors, nurses, medicines and clean water supplies have been sent to the affected regions.

Health Minister Alex Larsen has urged people to wash hands with soap, not eat raw vegetables, boil all food and drinking water and avoid bathing in and drinking from rivers.