Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cholera Outbreak Refocuses Attention on Haiti

Medical experts in Haiti are investigating the possibility that the bacterium that caused the recent cholera epidemic might be related to a strain that is found in South Asia, according to news reports.

The outbreak, which has killed hundreds and sickened thousands, began in rural areas of Haiti and has spread to urban locations. It came just months after a devastating earthquake rocked the island nation and killed thousands.

The quake generated a great deal of attention and aid efforts, but many observers say those efforts have trailed off in recent months, despite continuing need.

The cholera outbreak, while causing more tragedy for the disaster-stricken nation, has at least prompted some renewed focus on the problems facing Haitians, said Dr. Jeannette Diaz-LaPlante, a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.

Diaz-LaPlante has worked in Haiti, having established a mental health program there to address some of the needs of its vastly underserved population.

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