U.N. Forces from Nepal introduced cholera to Haiti

We’re here to help you! U.N. rescue forces from Nepal were the ones who introduced cholera to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Soon after the start of the outbreak, which has sickened close to 300,000 people and killed nearly 5000, Haitians fingered the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which has a camp populated by Nepalese soldiers in Mirebalais in the Centre Department, very close to where the first cholera cases occurred. The camp was also blamed in a leaked epidemiological report by a French cholera expert, Renaud Piarroux of the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, written at the request of the Haitian government. Several genetic studies showed that the Haitian cholera strain strongly resembled others found recently in South Asia—although none pinpointed Nepal specifically.

Yet some cholera scientists—including Rita Colwell, seen by many as a giant in the field—contended that the bacteria had more likely been present in local waters, and that the outbreak had been triggered by a combination of environmental factors.

Rita Colwell is hardly what I’d call a “giant in the field,” at least nowadays. Though her biography lists a lot of research work, the last decade she has spent most of her time playing politics as a political appointee, going from one government agency to another.