UNR Expert Helps Discover Source of Cholera in Haiti, Linked to - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

UNR Expert Helps Discover Source of Cholera in Haiti, Linked to United Nations

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For the first time in six years, the United Nations has admitted to introducing the infectious disease of cholera to Haiti. There's a local connection to how the source of the outbreak was discovered. A University of Nevada expert played a key role in that discovery.

Dr. James Wilson works at UNR as a research professor. For several years now he has been saying there is ample evidence of cholera originating from untreated sewage that a U.N. peacekeeping base unknowingly spread into the water. The U.N. has never accepted responsibility, until now. 

"This was a major disaster that happened as the result of poor screening protocols exhibited by deployments conducted by the U.N." said Wilson. 

Wilson says his team based in Haiti started receiving reports of unusual cases of diarrhea in 2010. Once it was confirmed cholera was spreading through contaminated water, Wilson helped track it to a U.N. troop from Nepal, where the disease is endemic. 

An estimated 10,000 people died from the bacterial disease. Now Wilson hopes with the U.N. taking responsibility, the organization will put measures in place to ensure people in the future do not get exposed to infectious diseases. 

"You need to have screenings done. If that means testing your stool, testing your urine, testing your blood, whatever it takes, then those protocols need to be in place to protect the population," said Wilson. 

Wilson says his research helped create the first state level infectious disease forecast center in the United States at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

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