Haitian cholera death toll hits 4,672

An official report by the Ministry of Public Health and Population in Haiti states that the death toll due to the cholera epidemic has risen to 4,672 since the detection of the first case in October 2010.

The report, published Thursday, also notes that there have been 252,640 infected with the disease and that 136,407 people have been hospitalized, according to Presna Latina.

The most affected region of the country has been the Ouest region, which is where the capital city of Port au Prince is located. There have been 876 deaths in the region, Presna Latina reports. The origin of the disease was in Artibonite, where there have been 874 deaths. Nippes is the least affected territory, with 152 reported fatalities.

The death toll is believed to have stabilized, according to health experts.

Cholera is an illness caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which infects the intestine. The bacteria are found in food or water sources that have been contaminated by feces. It is most likely to be spread in places with poor sanitation and inadequate water treatment and hygiene.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated three to five million cholera cases per year and over 100,000 cholera deaths per year. Symptoms include profuse watery diarrhea, leg cramps and vomiting. Without treatment, dehydration, shock and death can occur.