Cholera death toll rising in beleaguered Haiti

The cholera death toll continues to rise in the Caribbean island nation of Haiti.

Health authorities say 253 people have been killed with more than 3,000 infected with the cholera bacteria.

Concern has grown that the disease could spread to the squalid, unsanitary camps near Port-au-Prince, home to hundreds of thousands of survivors of last January’s earthquake, after five cases of cholera were detected in the capital.

But the chief Haitian health official, Gabriel Thimote, said Sunday that the rate of reported cases is diminishing and it appears that the cholera outbreak could be contained.

So far the disease has largely been confined to the Artibonite region in central Haiti where the first cases were reported last week.

International humanitarian agencies are distributing water purification tablets, hygiene kits and medical supplies to the affected areas of the country in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Cholera, a bacterial infection, is typically spread by contaminated water and food. The disease is treatable but without treatment, it can kill within hours.

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