Haiti confirms case of cholera, investigates suspected cases

Haiti's Health Ministry said in a statement that one case had been confirmed in the Port-au-Prince area and that there were suspect cases in the town of Cite Soleil outside the capital.

 Haitians protest over rising fuel prices during a nationwide strike, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 26, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/RALPH TEDY EROL)
Haitians protest over rising fuel prices during a nationwide strike, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 26, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/RALPH TEDY EROL)

Haiti on Sunday said it has confirmed one case of cholera and was studying several suspected cases, signaling the return of the disease that killed some 10,000 people in a 2010 outbreak that has been blamed on a United Nations peacekeeping force.

Haiti's Health Ministry said in a statement that one case had been confirmed in the Port-au-Prince area and that there were suspect cases in the town of Cite Soleil outside the capital.

The ministry urged citizens to take sanitary measures such as washing hands and consuming clean drinking water to avoid catching the disease.

A new bout of cholera would be devastating for Haiti, where economic activity ground to a halt last month due to a gang blockade that has prevented fuel distribution, leading to shortages that have shuttered businesses and many hospitals.

Previous cases of Cholera

 A man walks between road blocks set up by gangs after they waged intense gun battles, shuttering main avenues and a municipal market in the downtown area of the capital, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 27, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/RALPH TEDY EROL) A man walks between road blocks set up by gangs after they waged intense gun battles, shuttering main avenues and a municipal market in the downtown area of the capital, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 27, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/RALPH TEDY EROL)

The Pan American Health Organization in 2020 said Haiti had gone a year with no confirmed cases of cholera.

Troops from Nepal, where cholera is endemic, were in Haiti as part of a UN peacekeeping force established in 2004 after the overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The force size was increased after Haiti's 2010 earthquake.

The United Nations in 2016 apologized for the outbreak, without taking responsibility.

An independent panel appointed by then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued a 2011 report that did not determine conclusively how cholera was introduced to Haiti.

The panel members in 2013 independently published an article that concluded personnel associated with the UN peacekeeping mission were "the most likely source."