Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Haiti cholera 'far worse than expected', experts fear

Revellers bearing anti-cholera messages perform during the National Carnival celebrations in Haiti
The cholera epidemic affecting Haiti looks set to be far worse than officials had thought, experts fear. Rather than affecting a predicted 400,000 people, the diarrhoeal disease could strike nearly twice as many as this, latest estimates suggest. Aid efforts will need ramping up, US researchers told The Lancet journal. The World Health Organization says everything possible is being done to contain the disease and warns that modelling estimates can be inaccurate. Before last year's devastating earthquake in the Caribbean nation, no cases of cholera had been seen on Haiti for more than a century. The bacterial disease is spread from person-to-person through contaminated food and water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, and patients, particularly children and the elderly, are vulnerable to dangerous dehydration as a result. Read the full article here