November 12, 2010
Many More Dead in Haiti – Cholera Killing in the Capital
The media can't seem to agree on exactly how many people have now died of cholera, but they do seem to be agreed that the rate of infections and deaths is increasing, in Port-au-Prince as well as in most of the rest of Haiti.
First of all here's some video from AP, showing how things looked on the ground in Haiti earlier today:
A couple of hours ago the BBC reported that:
Cholera is spreading quickly in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, as the death toll rises across the quake-hit country.
More than 80 people have died in the last 24 hours across the country, according to the health ministry, taking the death toll to 724.
Three people have already died of the disease in Port-au-Prince, after it was confirmed in the city early this week.
Officials say six out of 10 regions are now reporting infections.
However earlier in the day Reuters had already reported that:
The death toll in Haiti's cholera epidemic climbed on Thursday, reaching 800, according to a U.S. medical expert who expressed concern about risk of transmission to the United States and other countries.
Fatalities from the diarrheal disease have risen steadily since the start of the outbreak more than three weeks ago in the poor Caribbean nation, which is struggling to recover from the effects of a devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.
Ezra Barzilay, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the health emergency created by the epidemic was worsening.
"As of November 8, we had about 640 deaths. Today we are at 800," he said in a call from Haiti to participants at a medical conference in Biloxi, Mississippi.
It seems as though the BBC's figures are a few hours out of date.
BioSurveillance reports that:
In some areas of Haiti, we have confirmation that in-patient statistics are under-reported by as much as 400%.
There is no question of under-reporting. If we assume the case counts are 1/4 the true community load, then we now have nearly 36k cases shedding pathogen into the environment. We believe the true statistic to be closer to more than 50k based on the degree of under-reporting. This is an uncontrolled, uncontained epidemic of cholera that has exceeded public health capacity to investigate and assess every site reported and every sample received.
Evidence now suggests the epidemic has crossed the border into the Dominican Republic, which was expected.
You know what's going to happen next. So do the Disasters Emergency Committee.
Why on Earth has this been allowed to happen?
Filed under Disasters by