The return of hurricane season is likely behind a recent surge of cholera cases in Haiti.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there were more than 18,000 new cases of the water-borne illness in capital city Port-au-Prince. Cholera treatment units in the nation are at about 72 percent occupancy.
“Data from the Ministry of Public Health of Haiti showed that since the beginning of the outbreak till [June 12] there had been 344,623 cases of cholera and 5,397 deaths,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.
Hurricane season officially started about a month ago. A lack of clean water and proper sanitation stands as an obstacle in the nation’s fight against the outbreak, according to WHO.
The disease has been less prevalent in neighboring Dominican Republic, which has seen 1,727 cases since late last year, including 46 deaths, according to the nation’s health ministry.