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Cholera Ravaging Rural Haiti: Will Outbreak Spread to Capital?

haiti, cholera
Cholera patient Jacklin Anore, 24, lies in bed at the Cuban-run Nicolas Armand hospital in Arcahaie, north of Port-au-Prince, on October 26, 2010. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images) Nicholast Kamm/AFP/Getty Images


(CBS/AP) Cholera is spreading misery and death across Haiti.

The death toll in the impoverished nation has reached 284, and UN officials reported 3,769 new cases of the deadly diarrheal illness as of Tuesday.

On Sunday, government officials had expressed optimism that the outbreak was under control.

Not so, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, according to the Montreal Gazette.

"I don't think that it is contained," said Claire-Lise Chaignat, co-ordinator of the WHO's Global Task Force on Cholera Control. "We cannot say it is contained. I think it hasn't reached its peak."

Most of the cases have occurred along the central Artibonite River, with many new instances in Haiti's central plateau, according to a UN spokeswoman.

But Chaignat said the WHO was urging that Haitian authorities prepare for the "worst case scenario," the spread of cholera to the capital, Port-au-Prince.

If there's any good news, it's that the death rate among those with cholera has fallen. At the beginning of the outbreak, the rate was 10 percent. Now it's 7.7 percent.

What's the WHO's target threshold?

One percent.