The Tyee has published my review of Dr. Ralph R. Frerichs's great book Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti: Cholera in Haiti: A True-Crime Medical Thriller. Frerichs tells the remarkable story of how Dr. Renaud Piarroux found the evidence of the UN's importation of the disease. Excerpt:
As of mid-May 2016, cholera has sickened over 780,000 Haitians while killing over 9,000 of them. According to PAHO, between Jan. 1 and April 30 of 2016, 13,859 have fallen ill with cholera and 150 have died -- more than the same periods in 2014 and 2015.
Early in the outbreak, Piarroux was contacted by Dr. Ralph R. Frerichs, professor emeritus of epidemiology at UCLA. Frerichs was also alarmed at the official response to Haiti's cholera. Their online communications grew into face-to-face contact, and eventually into a years-long debriefing in which Piarroux detailed his experiences in Haiti. That in turn led to this book, the best yet written on Haiti's cholera. It is also a medical thriller, a crash course in basic epidemiology and a primer on the politics of global health.
Frerichs writes brilliantly, letting facts and events speak for themselves. The result is a damning indictment of the national and international health agencies -- and the cynical governments that rule them.
The coverup organized by the CDC, the World Health Organization and other UN agencies was a violation of medical ethics on an international scale. They sacrificed Haiti simply to escape political embarrassment.
In fairness, though, none of the great health agencies is a free agent. As science writer Sonia Shah recently noted, "private interests have commandeered the public-health agenda." WHO has been on an ever-dwindling budget for decades. CDC isn't allowed to do research into firearm deaths as a public health issue. Both rely on "donations" from corporate benefactors, not solely on public tax dollars. And the benefactors too often dictate the agenda.
So we get as much public health as our political and corporate masters find convenient. In the case of Haiti, that is very little public health indeed.
I've added Deadly River to the Books on Infectious Diseases list, in the middle column, with a link to Amazon.com.