Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti cholera death toll tops 900

Patients with cholera symptoms, MSF hospital, Port-au-Prince (12 November 2010)
Image caption More than 14,000 people have been hospitalised since the outbreak

The number of people in Haiti who have died from cholera has reached 917, the country's health ministry says.

The disease is present in six out of 10 provinces and 14,642 people have been hospitalised since the outbreak of the waterborne disease began last month.

Aid agencies are battling to contain cholera in the capital Port-au-Prince, amid fears it will spread through camps housing 1.1m earthquake survivors.

The UN is appealing for $164m (£101m) to treat the disease in the next year.

The death toll has risen by 121 since Friday.

Elections due

The worst affected area remains the central province of Artibonite, where 595 people have died, said an update on the health ministry's website.

In Port-au-Prince - which was badly damaged by the earthquake in January - 27 deaths have been recorded.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Tomas brought heavy rains, which aid agencies say contributed to the spread of the disease, as rivers burst their banks.

Up to 200,000 Haitians could contract cholera, the United Nations says.

Cholera itself causes diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to severe dehydration. It can kill quickly but is treated easily through rehydration and antibiotics.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are due to take place in two weeks' time, on 28 November.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

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