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Cholera Reaches Haitian Capital


A Haitian resident suffering from cholera waits for medical treatment at a local hospital in the town of Saint Marc.

A Haitian resident suffering from cholera waits for medical treatment at a local hospital in the town of Saint Marc.

An epidemic of cholera that has ravaged northern and central Haiti killing 220 people has reportedly reached the country's densely populated capital.

The UN's Pan American Health Organization said in a statement that the Haitian Public Health Ministry has confirmed five cases in Port-au-Prince.

UN officials stressed that the five cases, the first confirmed in the capital since the epidemic started, were people who had become infected in the main outbreak zone of Artibonite north of Port-au-Prince and had subsequently traveled to the city where they fell sick.

The epidemic comes 10 months after an earthquake devastated the island nation.

Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in impoverished tent cities, particularly around Port-au-Prince, where sanitation is poor and where relief groups say the diarrhea-causing illness could spread rapidly.

Cholera, transmitted by contaminated water and food, can kill in hours if left untreated, through dehydration. But it can be treated easily with oral rehydration salts or just a simple mix of water, sugar, and salt. TV and radio adds in Creole recommended that treatment to the population.

compiled from agency reports
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