Thursday, October 28, 2010

Efforts to find Source of Cholera Contamination in Haiti


MINUSTAH has denied reports that its Mission officers are behind the outbreak of Cholera. However, the Head of the Haitian Ministry of Health, Dr. Alex Larsen has announced on the airwaves in Haiti, that the disease is imported and the Artibonite River is contaminated by external elements.

According to Dr. Larsen the source of the outbreak might possibly be traced to "citizens of countries where the germ is currently... " He cited, "among others, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians."

This is an extremely virulent disease that kills quickly but with care and time one can avoid death, he said.

Senator Yuri Latortue has asked for an investigation into the origin of the disease.

The MP believes that the Nepalese soldiers might not be innocent since, he said, they used to throw their excrement in the Artibonite River. The parliamentarian noted that Nepal is a country where this germ exists.

We need a thorough investigation, "said Yuri Latortue, noting that there are people who are willing to testify. We must fix responsibility and take action to prevent the disease spreading across the country," he said.

Haitian authorities, the local St. Marc community, and MINUSTAH have focused on the Nepalese post in Mirebalais, where residents have reported that the Nepalese soldiers, own a septic tank that discharges fecal matter in a river area that represents a branch of the Artibonite River.

On Radio Fm Scoop on Saturday, some residents of the area have detailed that every time the septic pit fills up it flows into the Artibonite River, particularly if it rains. MINUSTAH and a private contractor are responsible for cleaning the toilets.

Residents say that people who live on the side of Peligre, slightly above the base of Nepali soldiers, feel no discomfort, while those who live below the base have pruritus on their bodies and those who eat fish are victims of this epidemic.

A MINUSTAH spokesperson indicates that "7 septic tanks, constructed in closed circuit, serving the military base and meet the construction standards of the Agency for Environmental Protection (EPA)." She explained these septic tanks are emptied weekly by four trucks from MINUSTAH's private contractor.

MINUSTAH claims that "The landfill site used by the company, has obtained permission from the mayor of Mirebalais. It is 250 meters from the river Meille, "which represents more than 20 times the distance required at international level."

According to AP, "Lochard, the mayor, said he had told Nepalese officers not to place the landfill sites in that location but never received feedback from peacekeeping headquarters in Port-au-Prince."

The charge by Haitians that the Nepalese base is the source of the outbreak is being denied by MINUSTAH in a statement, but radio solidarite haiti (AHP) reports that "Authorities" indicate that the theory of "import" of the cholera epidemic is not excluded.

On Wednesday of last week "U.N. investigators took samples of foul-smelling waste trickling behind a Nepalese peacekeeping base toward an infected river system," so the Nepalese battalion base in Mirebalais is being investigated as a source of the cholera outbreak.

Adding further to the hurt caused by the outbreak is the closing of the Dominican border to Haitian merchants. Protests have occurred at the site of the Massacre River crossing separating the two countries.

"Only Haitians carrying legal documents are entitled to travel across the border," said Rafael Salas for his part, Provincial Director of Health of Dominica.

The WHO recommended that the border remain closed. The spokesman for the World Health Organization Fadela Chaib said, "It is our recommendation for any outbreak of cholera in any country."

A serious investigation by an independent authority must be carried out, in order to find the truth about the real cause of the deaths of 305, with 4.649 hospitalized as of Oct. 28.

It is important that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explain (if it is found to be the case) why its standards of septic tank construction at military bases are so inadequate as to leak into a river and contaminate it with toxic sewage that has resulted in a deadly epidemic propagating through the Haitian population, which has been free of cholera and never had this most lethal deadly form of the cholera bacteria. Haiti has not seen a case of cholera in at least 60 years.

Cholera is pandemic in much of the world but almost unheard of in the Western Hemisphere. It is endemic to Nepal, which suffered outbreaks this summer. A recent article in the Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases about outbreaks in 2008-09 said the strain found by researchers was "Vibrio cholerae O1 Ogawa biotype El Tor."

That is the same strain that has been identified in Haiti, epidemiologist Eric Mintz of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the AP. But he cautioned that strain is common and description too general to be a "smoking gun" that would identify the strain's country of origin.

--Jonathan Katz, AP (10.27.2010)

UPDATE 10.30.2010:


Tracking The Origins Of Haiti's Cholera Strain : Shots - Health News Blog : NPR

"... John Mekalanos, chairman of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School, disagrees [with the CDC]. He and other Harvard researchers plan to get a much more fine-grained picture of the Haitian strain, down to its genetic sequence.

Mekalanos says he has "no doubt" that detailed genetic analysis will reveal "with some certainty" whether the Haitian strain was introduced from somewhere else — and most likely, where.

First, the Harvard scientists have to get it. But then it should take only a couple of weeks to sequence the Haitian strain, and get closer to solving the mystery."

A tanker truck deposits excrements from the Nepali UN base in ... (10.28.2010)

UPDATE 11.04.2010:

The CDC said they may never determine the source of cholera in Haiti. Did the Harvard scientist standing by to test the strain have something to do with their rapid progress to a conclusion?

The cholera strain causing the current outbreak in Haiti is most similar to cholera strains found in South Asia, according to lab reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [...]


Haïti-Choléra : Le Ministre de la santé devant la commission santé du Sénat

MINUSTAH denies rumour that it spread cholera in Haiti

Haiti Cholera #5

Haiti Cholera #6

The Associated Press: UN probes base as source of Haiti cholera outbreak

Dominican Republic Seals Border With Haiti

Choléra en Haïti: le nombre des decès augmente au fil des jours: le directeur général de la santé publique affirme que les autorités sanitaires n’ont aucun intérêt à cacher les vrais chiffres

English translation:

Cholera in Haiti: the number of deaths is increasing day by day: the Director General of Public Health says that health authorities have no interest in hiding the real numbers

La MINUSTAH nie toute responsabilité dans l’apparition du choléra

Haiti's case against the UN for importing cholera epidemic


Anonymous said...

Haiti is an international crime scene.

Anonymous said...

UN investigating its actions again in Haiti. What a joke!

Nadege said...

Ok - the cholera strain in Haiti is linked to South Asia , in other words, Nepal - case closed.

thezenhaitian said...

Here's what HLLN has to say about the cholera contamination:
Note: CDC says the Cholera strain found in Haiti most likely comes from South Asia. Ezili HLLN emphasizes the connections to the poverty business and crimes against humanity going on in Haiti since 2004 - Nepal is in South Asia. The strain found in Haiti is the same as in Nepal. Nepal base of UN soldiers dumped their feces in the Meille River that flows into the Artibonite River. Prisoners in Mirebalais where brought the disease and are dying. They've not traveled anywhere. But their close the the UN base infecting Haitians. Most of these unfortunate prisoners are indefinitely detained, have not been convicted of a crime. But their dying of probably UN cholera. The 2000-2004 Bush aid embargo against Haiti under Pres. Aristide prevented Haiti water delivery projects earmarked to bring clean drinking water in the Artibonite region of the imported, non-Haitian cholera hit Haiti. Haiti paid around $10 million in interest for loans, including for water infrastructure, that were never dispersed because the Bush administration blocked the approved Inter-American Development Bank loans to Haiti's democratically elected government. After the earthquake the US spent $1.1 billion mostly in sending the 82nd airborne, marines and paratroopers to Haiti not humanitarian assistance.The UN's 9,000 mission were already in Haiti at the time of the earthquake providing no help at over $3.2billion dollars during 6-years since the 2004 Bush Regime change. No development, just similar "aid" as before, such as slave-wage sweatshops, USAID slaughter of 1.3million livestock of Haiti's peasants and famine caused by US-imposed agricultural and food aid policies. After the earthquake, Monsanto food dependency and seed/soil destruction, Red Cross dirty water, Clinton-Bush fund and cholera were added, by these international humanitarians to the death plan formula. Haitians are dying in droves from US aid.

Unknown said...

Nice article.thanks for sharing this.
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