Haiti cholera deaths top 1,500

Pan-American Health Organisation says epidemic could last for years in Haiti.

Updated: Nov 26, 2010, 09:40 AM IST

Port-au-Prince: An estimated 1,523 people have died of cholera and the epidemic could last for years in Haiti, the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) has said.

According to the organisation, the cholera outbreak has also sent 27,933 Haitians to hospital since the first detection of the disease in October, Xinhua reported o Friday. PAHO is the Americas` unit of the World Health Organisation.

PAHO fears that cholera could quickly spread due to the poor sanitary conditions in the country. It also warned that the epidemic could last for years and could be even more devastating for the Haitian population.

More than one million people in Haiti have been living in precarious tents since a devastating earthquake in January, which caused around 250,000 deaths and massive property loss.

"We have to prepare ourselves for a drastic increase in the cases of cholera and we have to be sure that there is a quick way to respond in order to treat them," said PAHO`s assistant director Jon Andrus.

The cholera outbreak started in the northern Artibonite River valley, a region which was not severely damaged by the Jan 20 quake. The UN has launched an appeal for USD 160 million to help combat the disease.

IANS