warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Cholera Spreads To Dominican Republic, Haitians Rebel Against U.N. Peacekeepers

Brooke Matthews |
November 17, 2010 | 11:37 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Despite efforts to keep Haiti’s cholera outbreak from spreading into the neighboring Dominican Republic, health ministry officials have confirmed the country’s first case of the disease.

18,383 people have been sickened by cholera in Haiti (Creative Commons)
18,383 people have been sickened by cholera in Haiti (Creative Commons)

A 32-year-old construction worker who was in Haiti from Oct. 31 until last Friday is said to have contracted the infection, and officials are still trying to determine if he could have spread it to anyone else when he traveled by bus back into the Dominican Republic.

Just days before, the Dominican government had limited border crossings in an effort to keep the outbreak from spreading. They have now issued a maximum health alert.

The cholera outbreak was confirmed last month in northwester Haiti. 1,100 people have already been died after contracting the infection, and 18,383 have been hospitalized, according to Haiti’s health ministry.

While thousands wait for supplies and medical attention, demonstrators have taken to the streets in Haiti after United Nations peacekeepers were accused of starting the outbreak.

Some believe that the oubreak started when untreated sewage from a group of Nepalese peacekeepers entered the water supply, but the U.N. denies this assertion.

“Trying to figure out who did it and what country they came from, I think, is extremely challenging to do, probably not possible,” said Dr. Jordan Tappero, team leader in Haiti for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s anti-cholera effort. “What we should focus on, as we have been, is preventing deaths.”

Protestors in Cap Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti, have blockaded the streets and burned down a police station, and at least one protestor was killed by a peacekeeper acting in self-defense.

As a result, clean water isn’t getting into the city, and flights to deliver soap and supplies have been canceled.

Some officials consider the protests to be politically motivated in an attempt to create instability before the Nov. 28 elections.

“We call upon all involved in these clearly orchestrated demonstrations to stop immediately so national and international partners can continue to save lives with our response to the cholera,” said Nigel Fisher, coordinator for humanitarian action for the U.N.

The U.N. expects as many as 200,000 people in Haiti to contract cholera in the next six to 12 months.

Reach Reporter Brooke Matthews here.

Sign up for Neon Tommy's weekly e-mail newsletter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.