Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti
On Sale: May 3, 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
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Non-Fiction Memoir | Non-Fiction Political | Non-Fiction
In October 2010, nine months after the massive earthquake
that devastated Haiti, a second disaster began to
unfold—soon to become the world's largest cholera epidemic
in modern times. In a country that had never before reported
cholera, the epidemic mysteriously and simultaneously
appeared in river communities of central Haiti, eventually
triggering nearly 800,000 cases and 9,000 deaths. What had
caused the first cases of cholera in Haiti in recorded
history? Who or what was the deadly agent of origin? Why did
it explode in the agricultural-rich delta of the Artibonite
River? When answers were few, rumors spread, causing social
and political consequences of their own. Wanting insight,
the Haitian government and French embassy requested
epidemiological assistance from France. A few weeks into the
epidemic, physician and infectious disease specialist Renaud
Piarroux arrived in Haiti.
In Deadly River,
Ralph R. Frerichs tells the story of the epidemic—of a
French disease detective determined to trace its origins so
that he could help contain the spread and possibly eliminate
the disease—and the political intrigue that has made that
effort so difficult. The story involves political
maneuvering by powerful organizations such as the United
Nations and its peacekeeping troops in Haiti, as well as by
the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control. Frerichs explores a quest for scientific
truth and dissects a scientific disagreement involving
world-renowned cholera experts who find themselves embroiled
in intellectual and political turmoil in a poverty-stricken
Frerichs’s narrative highlights how the
world’s wealthy nations, nongovernmental agencies, and
international institutions respond when their interests
clash with the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The story poses big social questions and offers insights not
only on how to eliminate cholera in Haiti but also how
nations, NGOs, and international organizations such as the
UN and CDC deal with catastrophic infectious disease epidemics.
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