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UN Assessing Report Haiti’s Cholera Began With Peacekeepers

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Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations takes “very seriously” a French epidemiologist’s report saying a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 1,800 people in Haiti began at a camp for Nepalese peacekeepers, a UN spokesman said.

The UN is “neither accepting or dismissing” the report, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in New York. “This needs to be looked into further.”

Renaud Piarroux concluded after a study in Haiti last month that the epidemic began with an imported strain of the disease and broke out at the Nepalese base, Agence France-Presse reported, citing an unidentified French Foreign Ministry official.

Nesirky said Piarroux’s report was “one of many” the UN is assessing and that there is no “conclusive evidence” on the origin of the outbreak.

The UN has conducted its own tests of the peacekeepers’ camp and commissioned others, all of which have so far proved negative, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the General Assembly on Dec. 3. He said 81,000 people have been infected and that cholera may strike up to 650,000 over the next six months.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the department received a copy of the report and passed it on to the UN, AFP reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations at wvarner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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