Heavy rains could cause cholera to return in Haiti

After days of pouring rains in Haiti, the Haitian Health Ministry has urged Haitians to take preventative measures against cholera, especially among the people living in refugee camps.

The ministry reported that extreme measures must be taken to avoid a new outbreak of cholera in the wake of heavy rains, Xinhua reports. The International Organization for Migrations said that in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, the unhealthy life conditions in refugee camps could increase the number of cholera patients.

Nearly 5,000 people have died of cholera since the outbreak began last October. The ministry fears that the country’s poor water and sanitary services could lead to an additional outbreak.

In January, health experts warned that there could be a surge of new cases in the spring when rain would potentially spread contaminated water, the Associated Press reports.

Workers for the aid group Partners in Health have noted an increase in new patients at treatment centers in Port-au-Prince and the countryside, spokeswoman Kathyrn Mahoney told the AP. Mahoney said that the number of new cholera patients has close to tripled in recent weeks at centers in Mirebalais.

In contrast, Sylvain Groulx, chief of mission in Haiti for the organization Doctors Without Borders, told the AP that the group’s workers have only seen a slight increase in new cases in the countryside.