Cholera Outbreaks

Volume 379 of the series Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology pp 145-164


The Cholera Outbreak in Haiti: Where and How did it begin?

  • Daniele LantagneAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University Email author 
  • , G. Balakrish NairAffiliated withTranslational Health Science and Technology Institute
  • , Claudio F. LanataAffiliated withInstituo de Investigación Nutricional, The US Navy Medical Research Unit 6
  • , Alejandro CraviotoAffiliated withInternational Vaccine Institute

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In October 2010, cholera appeared in Haiti for the first time in nearly a century. The Secretary-General of the United Nations formed an Independent Panel to “investigate and seek to determine the source of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti”. To fulfill this mandate, the Panel conducted concurrent epidemiological, water and sanitation, and molecular analysis investigations. Our May 2011 findings indicated that the 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by bacteria introduced into Haiti as a result of human activity; more specifically by the contamination of the Meye Tributary System of the Artibonite River with a pathogenic strain of the current South Asian type Vibrio cholerae. Recommendations were presented to assist in preventing the future introduction and spread of cholera in Haiti and worldwide. In this chapter, we discuss both the results of the Independent Panel’s investigation and the context the report sat within; including background information, responses to the report’s release, additional research subsequent to our report, and the public health implications of the Haiti cholera epidemic.