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In an opinion piece for The Boston Globe, FSPH Epidemiology Professor Emeritus Ralph R. Frerichs writes about the United Nations and the current cholera epidemic in Haiti.
"It is not enough that the United Nations is finally beginning to acknowledge its involvement in the lethal cholera epidemic in Haiti. Now it must urgently do everything in its power to eliminate cholera in Haiti before thousands more die.
Cholera was brought to Haiti in October 2010 by UN peacekeepers from Nepal. Some of the Nepalese peacekeepers had been infected with the disease in their home country. And due to close quarters and poor sanitation practices, the disease quickly spread throughout the Nepalese camp near the interior town of Mirebalais.
Early on, some contaminated fecal waste from the Nepalese camp leaked into a nearby stream, infecting a few Haitians. Then the accumulated camp waste was dumped into the local river by a poorly supervised UN vendor. This local river flowed on to the mighty Artibonite River, which serves as the breadbasket of Haiti before emptying into the Caribbean Sea."