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First cholera case in Haiti's capital is confirmed

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The cholera epidemic has spread into Haiti's capital, imperiling nearly 3 million people living in Port-au-Prince, nearly half of them in tent camps set up after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Health authorities said 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 killed at least 544 people in Haiti, Health Ministry executive director Gabriel Timothee said.

The boy was tested Oct. 31, treated and released.

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.

Timothee said many of the patients hospitalized in the capital with cholera are believed to have recently arrived from the Artibonite Valley, an agricultural area where more than 6,400 of Haiti's known 8,138 cases have been recorded.

At least 114 people in the capital's Cite Soleil slum, the city's closest point to the valley, are suspected of having the disease.

Since its discovery in late October, the disease has spread to half of Haiti's 10 administrative regions, or departments, and more than 200 people have been hospitalized in the West department, where Port-au-Prince is located. But no cases of cholera had previously been confirmed within the capital city.

Cholera had never been documented in Haiti before its appearance last month.

Nearly 4 percent of the thousands hospitalized have died.

First cholera case in Haiti's capital is confirmed 11/09/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:20pm]
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