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Haiti Has Highest Rate Of Cholera Worldwide One Year After Disease Outbreak Began

Paul Farmer, a founder of Partners in Health (PIH) and U.N. deputy special envoy to Haiti, in an interview with the Associated Press/Washington Post “said cholera has sickened more than 450,000 people in a nation of 10 million, or nearly five percent of the population, and killed more than 6,000,” giving the Caribbean nation “the highest rate of cholera in the world a mere year after the disease first arrived” (10/18).

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) “expects the epidemic to ease partially, but nonetheless predicts a further 250,000 cases next year, says Peter Graaff, the PAHO/World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Haiti,” Nature News writes. The news service notes that two groups, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and GHESKIO in conjunction with PIH, plan on including a cholera vaccine in their emergency responses over the coming months (Butler, 10/18). “Despite the spread of cholera, Farmer said it was possible to wipe out the disease by improving Haiti’s water system and sanitation. The use of education and oral vaccines is also important, he added,” the AP writes (10/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.