Port-Au-Prince, Haiti — The death toll has risen to at least 1,344 in the cholera outbreak in Haiti that has sickened nearly 57,000 people, the Haitian government said Monday.
The announcement came as international health officials predicted that the scale of Haiti’s cholera epidemic will exceed initial estimates of 200,000 over coming months.
“Having seen how the bacteria is behaving in this environment with these people, having seen just how poor and how hungry the people are, we know we have to revise our numbers up,” said Nyka Alexander, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, in a phone call with CNN.
Health workers say the Haitian population lacks immunity to cholera and Haitian medical workers lack experience treating the infection because the bacterium has not been detected on the island in more than a century.
The impoverished country’s weak health and sanitation systems are only compounding the problem.