Public health officials today announced that Haiti has received its first shipment of oral cholera vaccine in response to an outbreak that has grown to more than 13,000 suspected cases, plus 283 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that the disease is spreading amid a multifaceted humanitarian crisis with escalating gang violence and political upheaval.
With the support of the WHO's Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Haiti today received around 1.17 million doses of oral cholera vaccine, PAHO said in a news release. The vaccine, Evichol, was provided by the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (IGC), which manages the global cholera vaccine stockpile.
"Haiti has experience in managing cholera, but the fragile security situation has slowed down response efforts, so the arrival of these vaccines is most welcome," PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne, MBBS, said. "PAHO has been working with Haiti since the resurgence of cholera and will continue to support the national authorities to quickly distribute vaccines, monitor cases and provide life-saving care."
Haiti has experience in managing cholera.
The WHO recommends vaccination in combination with other measures, particularly water, sanitation, and hygiene steps.
Deaths approach 300
Haiti first reported the outbreak on Oct 2, after more than 3 years with no reported cases, the WHO said in an update today. Officials have now tallied 13,672 suspected cases across the country and 283 deaths, for a case-fatality rate of 2.1%. Among those patients (59% male), 11,751 (86%) have required hospitalization.
Officials have confirmed 1,193 cholera cases. Two departments account for 92% of the reported confirmed cases: Ouest (79%) and Centre (13%).
"There is also an ongoing complex humanitarian crisis that is rapidly deteriorating due to gang violence, socio-political conflicts, insecurity, fuel shortages, and economic instability," the WHO said. "This has resulted in limited access to healthcare and essential services."