Even before a massive earthquake devastated the nation in January 2010, Haiti’s health care and infrastructure were fragile. The cholera outbreak came soon after.
Studies showed the cholera was introduced by U.N. peacekeepers who used Haiti’s essential Artibonite River as a toilet. A United Nations report said the outbreak was “the result of bacteria introduced into Haiti as a result of human activity,” adding water and sanitation systems spread the bacteria.
Hundreds of thousands of people were sickened.
Haiti’s sanitation system has still not improved, and authorities suggest another cholera epidemic is imminent. The Mirebalais University Hospital in the capital, Port-au-Prince, has begun training doctors for another round of cholera.
“That could happen again, particularly in parts of the country where people have not had a lot of cholera. They may not have the experience to recognize it,” said Dr. Eric Mintz, an epidemiologist at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control.