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Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-12-23

Angry and fearful Haitians have lynched at least 40 people suspected of spreading cholera in recent weeks, officials have said, while a new study provided the strongest evidence yet that the disease came from South Asia.


At least 40 people have been lynched in recent weeks by angry Haitian mobs who accused their victims of spreading cholera in the poverty-stricken nation, local officials said Wednesday.

Fourteen people suspected of using black magic to spread the disease in the south-western region of Grand Anse were among those killed.

A cholera epidemic has killed more than 2,500 people since its outbreak in Haiti in October. More than 100,000 people have fallen ill from the disease and it is feared that six times as many people could become infected.

Science backs rumours

Meanwhile, scientists reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday that strong evidence suggests the disease came from South Asia.

Researchers said DNA samples from cholera bacteria recovered in Haiti were nearly identical to strains found in South Asia. The finding supports controversial theories that UN troops from Nepal or Bangladesh may have been responsible for bringing the disease to the Caribbean nation.

According to Harvard researcher Dr. Matthew Waldor, the finding indicates that cholera was introduced by people rather than arriving on ocean currents or occurring within Haiti, which also has been suggested.

Waldor, who author the report, said the germs were most likely released in excretions from people. He also indicated that the strains could have been introduced by contaminated food or water brought in from South Asia.

The paper confirms a South Asian link reported last month by the US Centers for Disease Control, and presents a more detailed analysis of the DNA.

Before the current outbreak of cholera, no cases of the disease had been suspected in Haiti for at least a century.


Date created : 2010-12-23


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