Experts Fear Cholera Could Tear Through Haitian Refugee Camps

By Sarah Ostman

As if Haiti hasn’t been through enough, reports are emerging that 132 Haitians have died and more than 1,000 have sought treatment in the past two days for a disease whose symptoms resemble cholera. This could spell mass disaster for thousands upon thousands of people who have been living in camps since January’s catastrophic earthquake, which killed 250,000 and left 1.2 million homeless.

Aljazeera — that’s right, Aljazeera apparently has correspondents in Haiti — reports that 1,400 Haitians have turned up in a hospital in the city of Saint Marc complaining of acute diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.

Tests haven’t come back yet, but experts fear it’s cholera, a highly contagious disease that, if not treated quickly, can kill a person in a matter of hours.

The bacteria that causes the disease spreads easily via unclean water, and can also be transmitted through food that’s come into contact with infected water.

Unfortunately, that makes Haiti’s refugee camps — which are already dealing with crowding, poor hygiene conditions and aftermath from recent floods — a perfect storm for the disease to flourish.

Read the rest of the story here.

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