Expert: UN Brought Cholera to Haiti

Nepalese base blamed for epidemic
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2010 1:40 AM CST
The head of Nepal's mission in Haiti enter Nepal's UN base in Mirebalais, Haiti.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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(Newser) – A French researcher has reached the same conclusion about the Haitian cholera outbreak as rioters did: United Nations peacekeepers are the likely source. The expert—sent by the French government to help Haiti investigate the epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people—believes the disease probably spread from a base used by Nepalese peacekeepers, according to a report obtained by AP.

Cholera was previously unknown in Haiti and the researcher believes bacteria may have spread from a leaking sewage pipe into one of the country's main rivers, causing an explosion of infections. UN officials cautioned that the report is inconclusive, while the head of Doctors Without Frontiers' Haiti mission emphasizes that knowing the cause of the epidemic is much less important than the ongoing fight against it. "One person is dying every 30 minutes in Haiti," he tells CNN. "Knowing the origin of the epidemic has no impact on saving lives."

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