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Cholera confirmed for resident of Haiti's capital

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The Associated Press | 11/9/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The cholera epidemic has spread into Haiti's capital, imperiling nearly 3 million people living in Port-au-Prince, nearly half of them in unsanitary tent camps for the homeless from the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The cholera epidemic has spread into Haiti's capital, imperiling nearly 3 million people living in Port-au-Prince, nearly half of them in unsanitary tent camps for the homeless from the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Health authorities said on Monday that tests confirmed a 3-year-old boy who hadn't been out of the city had caught the disease. More than 100 other suspected cholera cases among city residents also were being tested.

The outbreak has already killed at least 544 people in Haiti, Health Ministry Executive Director Gabriel Timothee said. The boy was tested after being taken to the Bernard Mevs/Project Medishare hospital Oct. 31 suffering from severe dehydration, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. He was treated with oral rehydration, IV fluids and antibiotics and released.

A stool sample tested by Haiti's national laboratory contained vibrio cholerae 01, the bacteria causing the disease, the chief medical officer, Antonia Eyssallenne, confirmed. The boy's family had not traveled in more than a year or had contact with anyone from the Artibonite Valley, where the epidemic was first registered and has wreaked its most ferocious damage.

At least 114 of the people suspected of having the disease in the capital are in the Cite Soleil slum, the expansive oceanside shantytown at the capital's far northeastern edge and its closest point to the valley.

Officials are concerned that floods triggered by Hurricane Tomas on Friday and Saturday could exacerbate the spread of the disease, which is transmitted through the consumption of fecal matter contained in contaminated water or food.

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