Southwestern Haiti sees cholera deaths on the rise

Cholera deaths are on the rise in southwestern Haiti, an area left relatively untouched by the recent outbreak.

There have been 140 deaths reported in the Grand Anse department as of December 7, reports.

Public health officials on the island are facing prevention challenges from local beliefs that say the disease is caused by supernatural forces, according to

Dr. Duvelson Angello, a physician in Grand Anse, told AFP that there are high numbers of deaths in areas where people link the disease to a form of witchcraft. People are not following health recommendations because of this belief in its supernatural origins.

Nationwide, as of December 3, the number of cholera cases has expanded to approximately 91,770. This includes 42,243 cases requiring hospitalization and 2,071 deaths. The outbreak remains the strongest in three departments - Artibonite, the North and the Northwest.

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, the number of cholera cases remains low. Only 16 cases have been reported, the latest being a 39 year-old-man who remains in good condition.

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that Haiti has received 20 percent of the approximately $174 million it needs for its cholera outbreak response, as of a December 3 report. The need is greatest in the areas of clean water and sanitation, followed by health response.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 28 of its staff has deployed to both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This brings the total number of CDC specialists working on the outbreak to 185.