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Haiti - ALERT : Lethal and devastating outbreak out of control
21/10/2010 16:50:25

Haiti - ALERT : Lethal and devastating outbreak out of control
Dr. Gabriel Thimoté, Director General of Department of Health, said that hospitals were overloaded with patients with symptoms of this epidemic [diarrhea, vomiting and high fever] in the Artibonite and Plateau Central, north of the capital, Port-au-Prince. No victims of the epidemic has been reported to date in Port-au-Prince, said Dr. Gabriel Thimoté who confirmed that the Haitian authorities had contacted the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Ariel Henry, Chief of Staff of the Haitian Minister of Health said "We recorded 52 fatalities on the banks of the Artibonite River that runs through central and northern of country. This is probably an epidemic caused by water used in this region."

"Some people died in their homes in the Artibonite region and the central regions of Haiti, while hundreds have been rushed to hospital," said another medical source.

The authorities of the Ministry of Health has dispatched two teams of investigators on site and analysis were conducted at a national laboratory to determine the causes of this epidemic. According to preliminary results of analysis of samples (unofficial) a form of cholera was behind dozens of deaths over the past 48 hours in Haiti, said Thursday a source from the Department of Public Health, however, according to this source who requested anonymity, type strain was not identified.

The Director General of the Ministry of Health, contacted by telephone, said that given the situation, the government had convened an urgent meeting with health authorities and refused to confirm information about a strain of cholera "The Government and health authorities will meet in the moment, an announcement will be made" he just said.

According to AFP, 31 people have died in Saint-Marc, 26 in Drouin, 18 at Verette and 3 at Mirebalais. Victims are also found in Marchand Dessalines, Grande Saline and Lesterre. Hospitals and health centers in these areas are inundated with patients. But the toll could be much heavier. The number of people hospitalized in all affected areas is 600, according to the director general of the MSPP, which states that the first case was identified Tuesday, October 19. According to the official, those who have not had access to a hospital died in 2 to 4 hours after the sighting of the first symptoms of the disease. . According to some unconfirmed sources, there could be several hundreds of deaths.

Operation Blessing International (OBI), which manages the local hospital in Saint-Marc, for its part, counts 18 dead and around 500 admissions of people suffering symptoms in the last 24 hours (400 Wednesday 100 in the night of Wednesday to Thursday) and officials expect a number at least equivalent today.

The OBI has conducted today sending a team led by Dr. David Darg, its director of international disaster relief, from Port-au-Prince to St. Marc with a plant for purifying water (WMI) with a capacity of 10,000 gallons of water per day. In addition to the unit WMI, OBI uses one of its devices SANILEC purification of water and provide sufficient chlorine solution to clean the equivalent of another 120.000 gallons of water on site.

"It's the severity of the outbreak that preoccupies us, and then the unconfirmed but reported high number of dead ... all of that is being investigated," said Dr. Michel Thieren, PAHO's senior program managing officer in Haiti.

OCHA spokesperson Jessica DuPlessis said medical teams had deployed to the main area of the outbreak, north of Port-au-Prince, specifying "They want to make sure that it doesn't spread".

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