CDC: Haiti cholera matches South Asian strain

Nov 01, 2010 By JONATHAN M. KATZ , Associated Press
A tanker truck deposits excrements from the Nepali UN base in an area 400 meters away from the base in Mirebalais, Haiti, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. U.N. investigators took samples of foul-smelling waste flowing behind a Nepalese peacekeeping base toward an infected river system on Wednesday, following persistent accusations that excrement from the newly arrived unit caused the epidemic that has sickened more than 4,000 people in the earthquake-ravaged nation. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

(AP) -- A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 300 people in Haiti matches strains commonly found in South Asia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

The finding is a significant step toward answering one of the most important questions about the burgeoning epidemic: How did , a disease never confirmed to have existed in Haiti, suddenly erupt in the vulnerable country's rural center?

It also intensifies the scrutiny of a U.N. base that is home to recently arrived Nepalese peacekeepers, built on a tributary to the Artibonite River. Cholera has been detected in the waterway, and most of the cases have been among people who live downriver and drank from the Artibonite.

Speculation among Haitians has increasingly focused on the base and the troops from Nepal, where cholera is endemic and which saw outbreaks this summer before the arrival of the current contingent of troops. On Friday, hundreds of protesters demanded the Nepalese peacekeepers be sent home.

In an unannounced visit to the base last week and a tour of the facility given by peacekeepers on Sunday, The Associated Press found questionable sanitation conditions.

The U.N. has defended its sanitation practices and denied that it was a source of the infection. A spokesman said the agency was looking into the matter Monday following the announcement.

CDC researchers identified the strain by analyzing that can be compared with those from other regions of the world, Dr. Christopher Braden told AP. The results were given to the press on Monday after being released to Haitian health authorities.

The finding does not identify the source of the disease or say how it arrived in , but it eliminates some other possibilities, including a suggestion that the strain might be related to a 1990s South American outbreak, Braden said. South Asia refers to the area around the Indian subcontinent - India, Pakistan and other countries including Nepal, he said.

"That's all we can say at this point, and we'll know more as more research is done," Braden added.

Explore further: Saudi reports new MERS death, infections in Jeddah

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN probes base as source of Haiti cholera outbreak

Oct 28, 2010

(AP) -- U.N. investigators took samples of foul-smelling waste trickling behind a Nepalese peacekeeping base toward an infected river system on Wednesday, following persistent accusations that excrement from ...

Cholera fears spark anti-clinic protest in Haiti

Oct 27, 2010

(AP) -- Protesters threw rocks at a cholera treatment center as it was preparing to open in the city of St. Marc on Tuesday, highlighting the fear surrounding a disease that was almost unknown in Haiti before it began spreading ...

Cholera outbreak creeps closer to Haiti's capital

Oct 24, 2010

(AP) -- A spreading cholera outbreak in rural Haiti threatened to outpace aid groups as they stepped up efforts Saturday hoping to keep the disease from reaching the squalid camps of earthquake survivors ...

Haiti cholera deaths rise above 300

Oct 28, 2010

Haiti's cholera toll rose Thursday above 300, as doctors sought desperately to contain the epidemic as victims overwhelmed the quake-hit nation's crumbling hospitals, spilling into its maternity wards.

Cholera epidemic in quake-hit Haiti, 135 dead

Oct 21, 2010

A cholera epidemic in northern Haiti has claimed 135 lives and infected 1,500 people over the last few days, Claude Surena, president of the Haitian Medical Association, said Thursday.

Haiti official: Cholera outbreak is easing

Oct 25, 2010

(AP) -- A cholera outbreak showed signs of easing Monday after killing more than 250 people in a sweep through rural Haiti, but experts warned that the earthquake-devastated country's first bout with the ...

Recommended for you

Thyroid disease risk varies among blacks, Asians, and whites

15 hours ago

An analysis that included active military personnel finds that the rate of the thyroid disorder Graves disease is more common among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites, according to a study in the April ...

The key to easy asthma diagnosis is in the blood

17 hours ago

Using just a single drop of blood, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...