Saturday, October 23, 2010

Officials: Toll in Haiti's cholera outbreak now above 150

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Haiti has risen to more than 150 confirmed deaths, according to health officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Agency for International Development. At a joint news conference held Friday, Dr. Rob Quick and Dr. Carleene Dei discussed the outbreak and efforts to work out a containment strategy. The CDC will send an 11-member team to Haiti over the next few days to find out which antibiotics will be most effective in treating the cholera outbreak. US AID will provide supplies needed to set up treatment centers. The group has already prepositioned 300,000 oral re-hydration kits and are distributing water purification kits in affected areas. Officials also confirmed that all the reported cases are in the Artibonite and Central Plateau regions, north of Port-au-Prince. They said they're working to contain the outbreak there and prevent its spread to the densely populated capital.

Chaos reigned acrooss the Artibonite and Central Plateau regions Friday, as hospitals overflowed with people rushing to get help from the fast-moving cholera outbreak. Eric Lotz, Haiti's national director for the nonprofit Operation Blessing, described a "horrific" scene outside St. Nicolas hospital, the main medical facility in the city of St. Marc, as patients and their family members fought to get care. "There was bedlam outside the gate," said Lotz. "Inside (the hospital), every square inch is covered with people." Some people waited 24 hours or more to get help outside the hospital, many of them on stretchers, said Terry Snow, Haiti director for the nonprofit Youth With a Mission.


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