The earthquake that decimated parts of Haiti last January may still be affecting citizens long after the rumbles have ceased. An outbreak of cholera is responsible for 138 deaths so far and fears are it could kill thousands more.
CNN reports that Imogen Wall, the U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman in Haiti, says preliminary tests have confirmed that there are 138 deaths so far from cholera, and more than 1,526 reported cases of people with symptoms of severe diarrhea and vomiting in the rural area just north of Port-au-Prince.
“This is a situation that’s developed very quickly. It’s only been 48 hours and we’ve already got 138 deaths confirmed,” Wall told CNN.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food, according to theWorld Health Organization. People who have it are at risk for dying of dehydration if their symptoms are not treated quickly.
Treatment includes doses of inexpensive oral rehydration salts, but the trick is getting them to those who need it.
Officials fear it could spread because tens of thousands of people are still living in unsanitary conditions in camps around the capital.