WHO warns Haiti cholera outbreak will get worse

The head of the World Health Organization’s cholera task force warned on October 27 that the cholera outbreak in Haiti is not yet contained and has not reached its climax.

The announcement came following the news that 284 people have reportedly died since the epidemic began.

“I don't think that it is contained,” Claire-Lise Chaignat, coordinator of the WHO's Global Task Force on Cholera Control, said, according the AFP. "We cannot say it is contained."

Haiti’s Foreign Minister Marie Michele Rey, meanwhile, was confident about the anti-cholera efforts and seemed to think that the disease was, for the time being, under control.

The WHO has recommended, according to Chaignat, that Haiti brace for a worst-case scenario in which the disease spread into the capital Port-au-Prince, where thousands of people are living in unsanitary conditions due to an earthquake in mid-January, AFP reports.

Since it was discovered last week, the outbreak has infected over 3,600 people. The United Nations is leading a team of aid agencies that are sustaining and expanding prevention efforts, particularly around the capital. Chief among their concerns is a public information campaign on hygiene.

According to the WHO, the death rate from cholera has dropped from 10 percent to 7.7 percent. That remains above the one percent threshold accepted by the United Nations.