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Dominican Republic closes border with Haiti over cholera scare; nearly 300 are dead

October 27, 2010 |  1:27 pm

Haiti dominican republic cholera outbreak latimes

The Dominican Republic sealed its border with Haiti this week to ward off a cholera outbreak that is spreading inside the Carribean nation, which is still struggling to recover from January's devastating earthquake. The Dominican government closed the border to most Haitians and stepped up patrols along the 130-mile-long boundary after U.N. peacekeeping troops Monday fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of Haitians seeking to cross.

As of early Wednesday, nearly 300 Haitians have died in the cholera outrbreak, in what The Times reported as the worst cholera outbreak in Haiti in more than a century. The World Health Organization said the death rate was slowing, though the outbreak had not yet "peaked," meaning more deaths are likely. About 4,000 are reportedly sick.

The outbreak in St. Marc — which was not severely hit by the January quake — is blamed at least partly on contaminated water from the Artibonite River.

On Wednesday, the Dominican Republican reopened its border with Haiti under tight controls, reported Dominican Today. Health authorites ordered doctors to be on alert for patients with acute vomiting or diarrhea, symptoms related to the cholera infection.

— Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: A man who doctors say died of cholera is carried to a morgue in St. Marc, Haiti. Credit: Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press