After my last rant about the unreliability of Haiti's cholera figures, I received a letter from Dr. Renaud Piarroux, who's studied the outbreak from the outset. He gently corrected me, added some new information, and attached his latest report on the status of cholera across Haiti. It is the single most informative document I have seen on the subject. Dr. Piarroux has given me permission to reproduce his letter here, and to post his report as a PDF:
You are not alone in looking at how cholera is evolving in Haiti. In order to guide UNICEF’s plan to eliminate cholera in Haiti, we try to follow as best we can the latest developments of the epidemic.
Errors that you highlighted are real. The apparent decrease in the number of deaths was due to the correction of typo errors in the results published on February 9. Some reported deaths, particularly in the Centre department finally proved to be unrelated to cholera, so they were removed.
Nevertheless these inconsistencies should not blind us to a very important point: since UNICEF and its NGO partners have implemented the new strategy of targeted response to the cholera epidemic, aiming more specifically to stop the cholera transmission in the last foci still active during the dry season, the number of new suspected cases and deaths collapsed.
To our knowledge, there are only three outbreaks of concern. The first is in Gonaives, the second in Cité Soleil, and the third in a rural area near Les Cayes. Efforts are underway to end the cholera in these three areas. Hopefully it will be rapidly effective because funding is limited and will be even more difficult to obtain new funding in the future. With the return of the rainy season there is a great risk of seeing outbreaks starting again without having any more possibility to contain them.
To better keep you informed, I join to this e-mail a copy of our latest report on cholera. For once, we wrote in English.
I will be delighted to post any further reports Dr. Piarroux sends me, whether in English or French.