Haiti's cholera epidemic death toll rose to 442 on Wednesday, with 105 more deaths since Saturday and more than a 40 percent jump in new cases, officials said.
Haitian health authorities reported that an additional 1,978 people were hospitalized, raising the total number of cases to 6,742.
AdvertisementThe developments, announced at a news conference here by Health Ministry official Jocelyne Pierre-Louis, reflected a surge both in new cases, which were up 41 percent, and deaths, which climbed 31 percent.
The epidemic has waxed and waned since it first surfaced in the Artibonite Valley in northern Haiti on October 21, the impoverished country's first cholera outbreak in a century.
On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the strain of cholera in Haiti as being the same as a strain found in South Asia, deepening the mystery over the source of the island's first cholera epidemic in more than a century.
Meanwhile, hospitals have been overwhelmed by cholera cases despite intensive efforts to respond to a disease that aid groups fear could spread like wildfire if it reaches densely populated Port-au-Prince.
Hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by a devastating earthquake in January live in unsanitary camps in and around the city.
The World Health Organization warned last week that the outbreak is far from over and Haiti should prepare for the "worst-case scenario" -- cholera in the capital.
International aid group Save the Children said last week the outbreak was threatening some 25,000 new mothers and their babies in and around the capital.
Although easily treated, cholera has a short incubation period -- sometimes just a few hours -- and causes acute watery diarrhea that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death.
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