SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Source of Haiti cholera called into question

A report written by a French doctor and deemed inconclusive by the United Nations and others suggests that the strain of cholera now ravishing Haiti may have originated with U.N. peacekeepers in Nepal.

In the report, Dr. Renaud Piarroux rules out a number of potential causes of the outbreak and points to Nepalese soldiers as the key to the mystery.

Vincenzo Pugliese, a spokesman for the U.N. in Haiti, said the report fails to deliver incontrovertible proof, according to CNN.

"We have not dismissed the report but we have not accepted it completely," Pugliese said, according to CNN. "We remain open to investigating this and we will get to the bottom of it."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Eric Mintz told CNN that the cause of the deadly outbreak is being sought out around the world. However, he cast doubt on Piarroux’s claims.

“To date, I am aware of no evidence whatsoever that would suggest the strain in Haiti is unique to Nepal," Mintz said, according to CNN. "By the tests we have done here so far, this strain is indistinguishable from strains that have been seen in other countries in South Asia. Vibrio cholerae strains do not get their passports stamped when they cross an international border, and there are many strains in circulation around the globe at any given time."

Since the outbreak began, some 90,000 people have been infected with cholera and more than 2,000 people have died. The first case was reported near a camp of Nepalese peacekeepers on October 14.