Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New study projects 770,000 cholera cases in Haiti this year

A new study to be published tomorrow says there could be 779,000 cases of cholera in Haiti this year. The study will be published in the medical journal The Lancet and contradicts findings made by the United Nations. The authors of the study used data from Haiti's Ministry of Health to base their projections.

From MSN Health, writer Robert Preidt unpacks the study for us.

There could be nearly twice as many cases of the potentially deadly diarrheal disease -- an estimated 779,000 -- between March and November of this year, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard Medical School.

The discrepancy is important because U.N. projections determine the allocation of resources to fight the disease, said the authors of the study, published March 16 in The Lancet.

"The epidemic is not likely to be short-term," Dr. Sanjay Basu, a UCSF medical resident, said in a university news release. "It is going to be larger than predicted in terms of sheer numbers and will last far longer than the initial projections."

The cholera epidemic erupted in Haiti after last year's devastating earthquake. Cholera -- spread from person-to-person through contaminated food and water -- can be deadly if untreated. In most cases, treatment for the diarrhea caused by the disease involves rehydration with salty liquids.

Late last year, the U.N. projected that a total of 400,000 people in Haiti would eventually become infected with cholera. They reached that total by assuming that cholera would infect 2 to 4 percent of Haiti's population of 10 million. But the U.N. estimate did not take into account existing disease trends, or factors such as where water was contaminated, how the disease is transmitted, or human immunity to cholera, Basu said.


Rudy Pohl said...

Hi There:

I was amazed and saddened to read this news piece about microcredit leading to suicides. It's so tragic that even such a good thing can be perverted by unscrupulous people. I really hope that safegaurds are found and put into practice soon. I just discovered your blog. I work with the homeless community in my hometown of Ottawa. Keep the great work!

Alistair said...

Hi there, This is an astonishing story but you may want to correct your facts. The projections are for approximately 11,000 deaths and not 779,000. The report estimates that there will be approxinately 800,000 cases. Still, 11,000 is desperately awful.

Kale said...

opps, sorry about that, we have changed the wording on our introduction.