Dominican Republic confirms first cholera death

Dominican health worker disinfecting a UN vehicle as it crosses the border from Haiti, 27 October 2010 Health workers have been trying to stop cholera from crossing the border

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The Dominican Republic has officially registered its first cholera death since an epidemic of the disease began sweeping through neighbouring Haiti.

Health officials said the victim was a 53-year-old Haitian who was being treated in the eastern town of Higuey.

The government said it would step up its prevention system in the area.

Almost 4,000 people have died of cholera in Haiti and close to 200,000 have been infected since the epidemic broke out in October.

The Dominican Republic tightened its border controls and health checks to try to stop cholera from spreading from Haiti soon after the first cases were reported.

But with tens of thousands of Haitians travelling to the Dominican Republic to seek work, the task was always going to be a difficult one.

The Dominican Public Health Ministry said the first fatality to be reported had been receiving hospital treatment in Higuey - the same town where the first cholera case was registered in November.

Officials said the man had died on Friday, and that since then, no other deaths had been registered.

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