PETER JAMES SPIELMANN
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Haiti's cholera outbreak is still the worst in the world, the top U.N. envoy there said Monday.
Sandra Honore briefed the U.N. Security Council about the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, crime rates, public health, and the cholera outbreak.
She told reporters "progress is being made" on the cholera epidemic. Of the 680,820 cases reported since 2010, only 6 percent arose last year -- some 58,000 infections.
Honore said "the overall incidence of the disease has been reduced by half, and the fatality rate is below 1 percent, which is the alert threshold defined by the World Health Organization globally."
But she told the Security Council Haiti "still has the highest number of cholera cases in the world." Health officials in Haiti say the epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people.
Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced in Haiti by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.
The United Nations has claimed diplomatic immunity from class-action lawsuits being filed by lawyers representing Haitian survivors and relatives of the dead who say the U.N. peacekeepers contaminated Haiti's principal river with cholera-infected human waste beginning in October 2010.
In 2012, the United Nations announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti.
Honore also told the Security Council that major crime was down in 2013, with homicides dropping 21 percent and kidnappings down 53 percent from a year before.
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