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Warning over Haiti cholera outbreak

A nationwide cholera epidemic could threaten the lives of thousands in Haiti if people do not receive sufficient health education, a leading British charity has warned.

Aid agencies have recently stepped up efforts to combat the infection which has claimed the lives of more than 700 survivors of an earthquake which ravaged the country earlier this year.

But thousands more will die if people are not informed about how the illness is caught and spread, Save the Children said.

Nick Ireland, who is leading the charity's cholera response in Haiti, said people were "key" to quashing the disease.

"A huge number of people are already affected by this outbreak," he said.

"At this point, our best hope is to reduce the rate at which cholera spreads and the best way to do this is to arm people with health information, clean water and soap."

Some 11,000 people in the stricken region are currently suffering from the infection which causes acute watery diarrhoea and can be fatal if left untreated.

According to the charity, the number of deaths has doubled in the past week.

"Epidemics are like organisms, they have lives of their own," Mr Ireland said.

"It's unclear how this outbreak will play itself out but we are all planning for a worst case scenario."


From Belfast Telegraph