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Posts Tagged ‘cholera’

Haiti cholera spreading faster than predicted: U.N.

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 6:49 am

Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic is spreading faster than originally estimated and is likely to result in hundreds of thousands of cases and last up to a year, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

Since the disease first appeared in mid-October it has killed 1,344 people as of Friday in the poverty-stricken and earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation.

But U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti Nigel Fisher said the real death toll might be “closer to two thousand than one” because of lack of data from remote areas, and the number of cases 60,000-70,000 instead of the official figure of around 50,000.

Addressing a U.N. news conference by video link from Haiti, Fisher said experts from the World Health Organization were now revising their estimate that the diarrheal disease, spread by poor sanitation, would cause 200,000 cases within six months.

“They are now revising that to 200,000 in closer to a three-month period. So this epidemic is moving faster,” he said, adding that it was now present in all 10 of Haiti’s provinces. “It’s going to spread.”

“The medical specialists all say that this cholera epidemic will continue through months and maybe a year at least, that we will see literally hundreds of thousands of cases,” Fisher said.

It was “almost impossible to stop the spread of these cases because it is so contagious, and those who carry the cholera bacterium often take days to show it, and in that (time) they may move anywhere,” he added.

Fisher said U.N. and other aid workers needed to “significantly ratchet up” their response, including going through faith groups to distribute chlorine tablets to purify water, and increasing the number of treatment centers.

But he said opening new treatment centers was running into resistance from local authorities because of people’s fears of having them in their neighborhoods.

The anti-cholera campaign has been complicated by unconfirmed reports that U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal brought the disease to Haiti, where it had been absent for 100 years.

At least two people were killed and dozens were injured in clashes last week between U.N. troops and protesters. The United Nations has blamed the trouble on political agitators looking to inflame tensions ahead of elections next Sunday.

Edmond Mulet, head of the U.N. MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission in Haiti, told the news conference there was still “no scientific evidence” the epidemic had come from the Nepalese and that all tests carried out had proved negative. But experts continued to investigate, he said.

Source: SGGP

Some 200,000 at risk of cholera in Haiti, U.N. says

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

Cholera edges closer to Haiti capital, 220 dead

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Oct 23 (AFP) – More than a dozen people have died of cholera in central Haiti, adding to concerns that the deadly outbreak is edging closer to the densely populated capital, officials have said.

The sudden cholera epidemic has in recent days killed 220 people, mainly in northern Haiti, and sent officials scrambling to contain a wider outbreak 10 months after a January earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation.

Sick people queue for medical treatment at a hospital close to Port-au-Prince amid a cholera outbreak. AFP

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.

Regional health director Dieula Louissaint said 12 more people died in the Artibonite department in northern Haiti on Saturday, boosting that area’s toll 206, while 14 people died in central Haiti closer to the capital.

“We cannot continue to treat cholera in this structure where we are also seeing other kinds of patients,” Louissaint said. “We need to establish specific treatment centers.”

Around 3,000 people have been admitted to hospitals and health centers near the northern city of Saint Marc which is struggling to cope with the overwhelming rush of sick patients as Haiti grapples with its first cholera outbreak in over a century.

More than 50 inmates at a prison in the center of the country have been infected with cholera, and three inmates have died, officials said.

“The situation is under control. The population should not give in to panic, but people must take hygienic measures seriously,” warned Jocelyne Pierre-Louis, a physician with the health ministry.

President Rene Preval and Health Minister Alex Larsen toured regions affected by the epidemic on Saturday, as authorities vowed they were working to provide clean water to residents.

On Friday, the health ministry asked the United Nations operations in Haiti to take charge of distributing medication that is being sent by international donors.

The Canadian government has offered to set up a military hospital in Haiti and the United States has pledged to set up large tents to treat patients on the ground.

Canada, which has its own sizeable Haitian population, also offered to send one million Canadian dollars to help fight the spread of the outbreak.

“Canada is worried about the risk that this serious disease spreads to other communities,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

The US branch of the Red Cross said Saturday that three large shipments of supplies had arrived in the Americas’ poorest country.

Doctors Without Borders has plans to set up a field hospital in Saint Marc in order to treat cholera patients, and Oxfam said it sent five emergency specialists to Artibonite to “set up water, sanitation and hygiene programs for an estimated 100,000 people.”

Contamination of the Artibonite river, an artery crossing Haiti’s rural center that thousands of people use for much of their daily activities from washing to cooking, was believed to be at the source of the epidemic.

But the rapid spread of the disease, which is caused by a bacterial infection in the small intestines, raised fears of a much larger health emergency, particularly if it reaches the camps around Port-au-Prince.

“It is a scenario of catastrophe,” Mirlande Manigat, the frontrunner in Haiti’s presidential elections, told broadcaster Radio-Canada during a visit to Montreal.

Aid agencies have 300,000 doses of antibiotics in the country already, Catherine Bragg, the UN deputy emergency coordinator said in New York on Friday.

Some 10,000 boxes of water purification tablets, 2,500 jerry cans, and the same number of buckets and hygiene kits are being distributed in the affected area.

“The point here is that cholera deaths are preventable, and we are doing everything we can to assist the Haitian authorities to prevent further deaths,” Bragg said.

According to Bragg, there have been no major disease outbreaks in the quake zone even though sanitary conditions in some of the camps are “truly awful.”

But Jon Andrus, deputy director of the Pan-American Health Organization, told reporters in Washington Friday that the outbreak “is likely to get much larger given our experience with cholera… particularly in a population that has really no protective immunity.”

Source: SGGP

Cholera confirmed as UN chief to tour Pakistan floods

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Saturday 20 million people had been affected by the worst floods in the country’s history as the UN confirmed the first cholera case.

Independence day celebrations were cancelled as floods continued to bring misery to millions and aid agencies warned of a “second wave” of deaths from disease.

“The floods affected some 20 million people, destroyed standing crops and food storages worth billions of dollars, causing colossal loss to national economy,” Gilani said in a televised address. “I would appeal to the world community to extend a helping hand to fight this calamity.”

Pakistani flood survivors lead their cattle through water as they evacuate Khangarh

The United Nations has appealed for 460 million dollars to deal with the immediate aftermath of the floods, but charities say the figure falls far short of what is needed.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday to discuss the relief effort and visit flood-hit areas.

“Outbreak of epidemics in the flood-hit areas is a serious threat, which can further compound the already grave situation,” Gilani added, as the UN confirmed the country’s first cholera case in Mingora, in the northwestern district of Swat.

Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, said at least 36,000 people were reportedly suffering from acute watery diarrhoea.

“We’re not suggesting that everyone who has acute watery diarrhoea has cholera, but cholera is certainly a concern and that’s why we’re stepping up our efforts,” he said.

Pakistan’s chief meteorological official, Arif Mehmood, said no new wave of flooding was expected in the next couple of days.

But charities said relief for those affected by the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history was lagging far behind what was needed.

“There are millions of people needing food, clean water and medical care and they need it right now,” said Jacques de Maio, head of operations for South Asia at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“Clearly at this point in time the overall relief effort cannot keep pace with the overall scale of the emergency.”

Humanitarian agencies in Pakistan were monitoring the risk of “a second wave of deaths induced by the floods in the shape of water-borne diseases”, de Maio said.

Celebrations marking the anniversary Saturday of Pakistan’s independence from British colonial rule were scrapped by President Asif Ali Zardari, who has come under fire for pressing on with a trip to Europe last week despite the emergency.

In his independence day message, Zardari said: “The best way to celebrate this day is to reach out to the victims of the natural disaster, heal their wounds and help them to help themselves.”

“I salute the courage and heroism of flood victims and assure them that the government will do everything possible to alleviate their suffering.”

However with up to two million people requiring shelter and six million depending on humanitarian assistance, troops distributed national flags among the people in the flood-hit northwestern town of Nowshera.

“We lost our houses and everything in the floods. We urgently need food and medicines and not the flags,” Rasul Khan, 80, told AFP.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Zardari to express solidarity, even as US security operations continued in the northwestern tribal belt. A missile fired from a US drone on a rebel compound in North Waziristan killed 13 militants on Saturday, according to local security officials.

“The people and government of the United States are with the people of Pakistan in these difficult times,” an official government statement quoted Clinton as saying.

She also praised “the courage with which the people of Pakistan had braved the adversity”.

The United Nations believes 1,600 people have died in the disaster, while Islamabad has confirmed 1,343 deaths.

Ban on Sunday was expected to “see for himself the flood-affected areas (and) demonstrate the support of the UN and the international community to the government and people of Pakistan,” UN spokeswoman Ishrat Rizvi told AFP.

Meanwhile 90 percent of the 500,000 residents of Jacobabad left for safer ground after authorities warned that flood waters might deluge the southwestern city, provincial agriculture minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo told AFP.

Source: SGGP

UN confirms cholera case in flood-hit Pakistan

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 7:21 am

ISLAMABAD, Aug 14, 2010 (AFP) – The United Nations has confirmed at least one case of cholera in flood-hit Pakistan and is stepping up efforts to treat people suffering from acute watery diarrhoea, a spokesman said Saturday.

“There has been at least one cholera confirmed case in Mingora,” Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, told AFP, referring to the main town in the northwestern district of Swat.

“Given that there are concerns about cholera, which is a very deadly disease, what we’ve started to do instead of testing them for cholera is to treat everyone for cholera.”

Pakistani flood survivors struggle for charity food near a makeshift camp in Sukkur on August 13, 2010. AFP

Giuliano said at least 36,000 people are reportedly suffering from acute watery diarrhoea.

“We’re not suggesting that everyone who has acute watery diarrhoea has cholera, but cholera is certainly a concern and that’s why we’re stepping up our efforts to treat cholera,” he said.

Pakistan says 14 to 20 million people face direct or indirect harm as a result of unprecedented floods that have triggered the country’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The United Nations believes 1,600 people have died, while Islamabad has confirmed 1,384 deaths.

Source: SGGP

Pakistan flood toll tops 900 as cholera emerges

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – The death toll from Pakistan’s worst floods in living memory topped 900 on Sunday as outbreaks of waterborne disease emerged and penniless survivors sought refuge from the raging torrents.

A total of 862 people have been killed by monsoon rains, flash floods and landslides around the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and at least 47 have died in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, officials said.

Pakistani soldiers use boats to evacuate local residents in the flood-hit Mohib Bhanda area in Nowshera district. AFP photo

Up to one million people have been affected in all, according to the UN, with thousands of homes and vast swathes of farmland destroyed in a region of Pakistan already reeling from years of extremist bloodshed.

“This is the worst flood in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the country’s history,” provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told AFP.

Hundreds of survivors were finding shelter in schools in Peshawar, the main city in northwest Pakistan, and in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, after escaping the floods with children on their backs.

Pakistani television and photographs shot from helicopters showed people clinging to the walls and rooftops of damaged houses as gushing waters rampaged through villages.

Muqaddir Khan, 25, who fled the floods with nine relatives, told AFP in Peshawar that he had lost everything.

“I laboured hard in Saudi Arabia for three years and set up a small shop which was swept away by flooding in minutes,” Khan said.

Razia Bibi, 48, said she and her family had a sleepless night watching the floodwaters rise.

“My house has now gone under water and I could escape with only a few belongings,” Bibi said.

Pakistan’s weather bureau said an “unprecedented” 312 millimetres (12 inches) of rain had fallen in 36 hours in the northwest but predicted only scattered showers during coming days.

In neighbouring Afghanistan, flash floods have killed at least 65 people and affected more than 1,000 families, officials said.

More than 3,700 houses have been swept away by the floods in Pakistan and the number of people made homeless is rising, the provincial minister said.

“The flash floods destroyed maize and (rice) paddy crops in Nowshera (town),” Hussain said.

“Our rescue teams are also trying to extricate some 1,500 tourists who are stranded in the Kalam and Behrain towns of Swat district,” he said, referring to a region where the military last year waged a major anti-Taliban offensive.

“We are also getting confirmation of reports about an outbreak of cholera in some areas of Swat,” Hussain added.

The army said it had sent boats and helicopters to rescue stranded people and its engineers were trying to open more roads and divert swollen rivers.

In Pakistani Kashmir, officials said army helicopters had been urgently requested to access the worst-hit Neelam valley.

“It has been cut off from the rest of Kashmir and we still don’t know how many people are killed, injured and displaced there,” State Disaster Management Authority chief Farooq Niaz said.

Manuel Bessler, head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance in Pakistan, said communications had broken down in areas across the northwest.

“We have a planning figure of one million people affected directly by the floods,” he told the BBC.

However, authorities said they had repaired a damaged portion of the Islamabad-Peshawar motorway to restore the northwest region’s road links with the rest of Pakistan.

The European Commission said it had given 30 million euros (39 million dollars) in urgent humanitarian aid to Pakistan.

The flooding capped a week of tragedy for Pakistan after an airliner crashed into hills near Islamabad Wednesday, killing all 152 people on board.

Source: SGGP

Cholera and food poisoning in Mekong Delta

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

Can Tho’s Preventive Medicine Center reported July 19 that two people from the Mekong Delta city have tested positive for cholera.

A 17-year-old from Thot Not District and a 22-year-old of Co Do District are being treated at Thot Not District’s General Hospital.

The patients were admitted to hospital with severe stomachaches, diarrhea and vomiting, said doctors.

Elswhere in the delta, 19 people have recently suffered from cholera in An Giang Province. Among them, Long Xuyen City has the most with nine people, while five residents have become sick with the illness in An Phu District.

Also on July 19, 200 workers from the Mekong Dream Company that manufactures stuffed toys in Tien Giang Province’s Cai Be District were hospitalized due to food poisoning symptoms.

Director of Cai Be General Hospital, Bui Van Nghieu, said that the workers were brought to hospital with vomiting, headaches and dizziness after a lunch of tuna, bamboo shoots and water spinach.

Most of them have already regained health.

Tien Giang Province’s Department of Health asked relevant authorities to take samples of food for testing.

Source: SGGP

Efforts focused on stamping out cholera outbreaks

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Efforts focused on stamping out cholera outbreaks

QĐND – Thursday, July 15, 2010, 20:43 (GMT+7)

The health sector should focus on stamping out cholera outbreaks, and said there was no need to continue cholera bacterium tests, said Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan on July 14.

The health official made the announcement at a meeting of the Steering Committee for Influenza Pandemic Prevention, saying the sector needs to tighten the examination of unhygienic food and untreated canal water, and provide anti-bacterium chemical substances to families to help them treat the disease.

During the past two weeks, 11 cities and provinces in the country have reported over 100 cases testing positive for cholera bacterium. However, the real number was believed to be much higher.

Nguyen Van Kinh, Director of the Hanoi-based Central Tropical Diseases Hospital, said that since June 28, the hospital has received 183 patients with clinical signs of acute diarrhea, including 50 persons who tested positive for cholera bacterium.

On July 13 alone, the hospital received six cases with clinical signs of acute diarrhea, including one person who tested positive for cholera bacterium.

Source: VOVNews/VNA

Source: QDND

Cholera and dengue fever spread

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

The number of people infected with cholera skyrocketed in the first six months of the year in the southern region, said Le Hoang San, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute.

Children with dengue fever are treated at HCMC Children Hospital No.2 (Photo: SGGP)

At a July 9 meeting between the Ministry of Health and southern health units on preventing epidemics, specifically cholera, Mr. San said that HCMC now has 12 infected patients. Meanwhile, the figure is 18 in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.

According to San, nine of 36 water samples taken from Ben Tre Province have tested positive for the choleric bacteria. Eight river water samples in An Giang have also presented the same tested results.

The transmitting sources have been determined to be Cambodians, who came to Vietnamese border provinces for health checks and treatment and from unhygienic food and water.

Deputy Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan said that the extended scorching weather has made cholera harder to control.

In the northern region, the choleric bacterium has been found present in fresh water sources in Bac Ninh and Hai Duong provinces and in Hanoi. Samples of raw vegetables, ice water and dog meat have also tested positive for the cholera bacteria.

The same day, Le Bich Lien, deputy director of HCMC Children Hospital No.2, said that in the past week, the hospital has hospitalized 70-80 children each day with dengue fever, with 60 percent of the cases coming from HCMC.

Since the beginning of the year, HCMC has recorded 2,000 cases of persons infected with dengue fever with one patient dying from the disease.

In the central region, Binh Dinh Province’s Preventive Medicine Center reported that two children in the locality have died off dengue fever; one was an 11-year-old girl while the other was a seven-year-old boy.

In the first half of the year, Binh Dinh experienced 676 cases of dengue fever, an increase of 50 percent over the same period last year.

Source: SGGP

Dog meat businesses ordered to halt operation due to spread of cholera

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Due to the wide spread of cholera disease in the capital city of Hanoi, the Department of Health July 10 ordered dog meat businesses to shut down temporarily, in an effort to disinfect the environment.

(File) A dog meat shop in Hanoi

The department has tested samples of raw vegetables, ice water and dog meat from business and dog meat processing centers in Hanoi’s Duong Noi Commune.

Tests confirmed that cholera bacterium was present in such samples. The department decided to halt operation of these establishments in order to spray chemicals.

The commune has 19 slaughterhouses and dog meat processing plants that supply restaurants with imported dog meat from Laos.

In the northern region, the choleric bacterium has been found present in fresh water sources in Bac Ninh and Hai Duong provinces and in Hanoi.

According to the Hanoi Preventive Health Department, of the 150 reported cases of cholera over the past month, over 60 percent of them involved patients that had to be hospitalized due to their consumption of dog meat, raw vegetables and shrimp paste.

Source: SGGP