Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Nepalese military occupation brought the disease to Haiti. There was an outbreak of cholera in Nepal concurrently in October. The Nepalese base dumped their waste in a tributary of the Artibonite river, resulting in the spread of the bacterial infection to those living down river from the military base.
The virulent strain contaminating Haiti is not native to the Western Hemisphere. The bacterial strain of cholera has been determined to be of South Asia origin. The cholera contamination of the Artibonite river has killed over 400 Haitians and made close to 5,000 Haitians ill.
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
By JONATHAN M. KATZ
Wednesday, November 3, 2010; 5:40 PM
John Mekalanos, a cholera expert and chairman of Harvard University's microbiology department, said it is important to know exactly where and how the disease emerged because it is a novel, virulent strain previously unknown in the Western Hemisphere - and public health officials need to know how it spreads.
Interviewed by phone from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mekalanos said evidence suggests Nepalese soldiers carried the disease when they arrived in early October following outbreaks in their homeland.
"The organism that is causing the disease is very uncharacteristic of (Haiti and the Caribbean), and is quite characteristic of the region from where the soldiers in the base came," said Mekalanos, a colleague of Farmer. "I don't see there is any way to avoid the conclusion that an unfortunate and presumably accidental introduction of the organism occurred."