Water from UN peacekeeping base in Haiti tests negative for cholera

08:19, November 03, 2010      

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The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) on Tuesday confirmed that tests conducted from a water supply behind its military base in the area of Mirebalais, proved negative for cholera, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here.

On Oct. 22, MINUSTAH's 12,000 force began an investigating allegations that sewage from one of its peacekeeping bases may have caused a devastating cholera outbreak that resulted in the deaths of over 300 people in Haiti.

UN investigators took samples of sewage water that had been trickling from a latrine behind a Nepalese peacekeeping base in Mirebalais -- previous tests conducted on Oct. 22 and Oct. 26 all proved negative for cholera.

According to Nesirky, the tests were analyzed by an independent laboratory.

Meanwhile, "all the soldiers underwent necessary medical tests, and had they had diarrhea or other cholera-related symptoms, then they would have gone other tests," he said. The MINUSTAH soldiers "are healthy," Nesirky added.

Cholera is a virulent infectious disease that is transmitted through feces-contaminated drinking water or food, leading to severe vomiting and diarrhea. Without proper treatment, the waterborne bacteria can kill within hours.

According to reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), the epidemic spread from an infected river system in Haiti's Artibonite Province. Despite accusations against the MINUSTAH base, the precise origin of the outbreak has yet to be determined.

"The UN mission in Haiti says it will continue to constantly test its installations in the interest of protecting Haitian people and its personnel. The mission remains committed to acting transparently and in close coordination with the government in all efforts to fight this epidemic and other issues in Haiti," said the UN spokesman.

Source: Xinhua


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