Struggling Haiti faces outbreak of cholera

The chief of Haiti’s medical association says an outbreak of cholera in the north of the country has killed 135 people and sickened 1,500 others. Claude Surena tells the French news agency that laboratory tests confirm cholera and that the government plans to make a statement soon.

Most of the sickened people have been taken to hospitals in the coastal town of St. Marc. The numbers have overwhelmed medical centers, and some patients have been placed on blankets out in parking lots.

Cholera is a bacterial infection that is typically spread by ingesting water or food contaminated by human feces. Symptoms include fever, severe diarrhea, and vomiting.

The disease is easily treatable. But without treatment, it can kill within hours. Aid workers report unsanitary conditions in camps where thousands of Haitians are still living after the January earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people.

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