NEW YORK - The death tolls from cholera in Haiti has now reached a disturbing 800, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
Ezra Barzilay of the CDC said the emergency in Haiti created by the epidemic was worsening as evidenced by the rising death toll.
`As of November 8, we had about 640 deaths. Today we are at 800,` he said in a call from Haiti to participants at a medical conference in Biloxi, Mississippi. `The situation here is more dire every day. Haitians are in line (for treatment). Hospital beds are gone. Hospitals are completely overrun.`
Haiti`s health ministry said on Thursday that up to Tuesday, November 9, confirmed deaths from cholera totaled 724, with 11,125 hospitalized cases registered.
Ten deaths had been recorded in the capital Port-au-Prince, where authorities fear contagion in crowded camps housing earthquake survivors.
The CDC said earlier this month that the cholera in Haiti is similar to a cholera strain found in South Asia.
Current preventive measures being used to control the outbreak include treating ill people with oral rehydration solution, providing access to safe water, and encouraging good hygiene and sanitation practices. The Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population is leading a response that prioritizes measures to protect families at the community level, strengthen primary health care centers already operating across the nation, and establish a network of special cholera treatment centers and designated hospitals for treatment of severe cases.
Artibonite and communities in the north-west region of the country have the highest concentration of reported cholera cases. However, Save the Children, an organization in Haiti, says thousands of children in Haiti`s shattered capital may now face the new threat of cholera that arose recently in the country`s interior and has since arrived in Port-au-Prince.