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Cholera in Haiti Matches Strains Seen in South Asia, U.S. Says

A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 300 people in Haiti matches strains commonly found in South Asia, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

Researchers identified the strain by analyzing DNA patterns that can be compared with those from other regions of the world, according to Dr. Christopher Braden, a C.D.C. epidemiologist.

The finding does not identify the source, nor does it explain how cholera — a disease never confirmed to have existed in Haiti — suddenly erupted in the vulnerable country’s rural center. But it eliminates some possibilities, including any connection to a 1990s South American outbreak.

The finding also intensifies the scrutiny of a United Nations base built on a tributary to the Artibonite River. Cholera has been detected in the waterway, and most of the cases have been among people who live downriver and drank from the Artibonite.

Speculation among Haitians has increasingly focused on the base and troops there from Nepal, where cholera is endemic and which saw outbreaks this summer before the current contingent of troops arrived in Haiti. Most people infected by the microbe never develop symptoms but can still pass on the disease.
 
 

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