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Cholera outbreak strikes over 1,500 people in Haiti

Disease concerns cause Irish charity to delay sending workers due to participate in re-building projects.

The body of a man that doctors say died of cholera lies on a stretcher at a morgue in Saint Marc, Haiti.
The body of a man that doctors say died of cholera lies on a stretcher at a morgue in Saint Marc, Haiti.
Image: Ramon Espinosa/AP/PA Images

AID WORKERS IN HAITI are fighting to prevent an outbreak of cholera from spreading to refugee camps set up following January’s earthquake.

The UN has confirmed 138 deaths as a result of the disease, according to BusinessWeek. Over 1,500 cases have been reported.

The area involved – in the north-west of the country – was not directly affected by the January quake.

David Darg, an aid worker in Haiti, told CNN that his friends in St Marc reported this morning that”people were arriving at St Marc hospital in droves, sick with diarrhoea and said that people were dying from dehydration at an alarming rate”.

Thousands of people continue to live in the crowded refugee camps after being made homeless in the earthquake.

The UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Catherine Bragg, told BusinessWeek that she could not say the situation was under control, but “we are doing everything to put it under control”.

“Spread of the disease can be averted with clean water, soap and by improving santitation,” Bragg said.

The disease can be spread by consumption of contaminated food or water, according to WHO, and has a short incubation period. It can cause severe dehydration and death if not treated promptly.

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Irish charity the Haven Partnership announced today that it was postponing the departure of a group of its volunteers until Tuesday as a result of the outbreak. The group was due to travel today and participate in rebuilding projects in Haiti.

This Al Jazeera report shows the crowds of people streaming to a hospital in St Marc:

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