Our team was interviewed by a major international press organization this afternoon, and they asked about key achievements of the HEAS. The following was provided as a list of highlights:
1. HEAS performance / forecasting functions the first 150 days post quake
2. Our first public statement regarding reports of severe diarrheal disease in Artibonite (ie cholera)
3. Our first public report of linking the UN Nepalese base in Mirebalais to the cholera disaster (this was actually an update, posted a couple of hours after the initial report). This was the first public report describing probable attribution for the cholera disaster in Haiti.
4. Referral to the Paul Keim (a member of the NSABB, the same panel reviewing the controversial studies on avian influenza) study proving the link to Nepal
5. First case of acute flaccid paralysis identified. It remains our belief Vaccine-Derived PolioVirus (VDPV) Type 1 continues to transmit in Haiti. What is required to disprove this belief is a comprehensive field investigation by a neutral third party.
6. 11th case of acute flaccid paralysis identified
7. Field ops: description of HEAS warning-response ops in rural mountainous areas of Haiti, note the report on Borgne as an excellent example
8. Intercept Team field ops reports from Belle Fontaine (Dec 10-12th and Jan 12-13th)
The reporter asked us what we thought about cholera transmission now in Haiti. Our response was cholera continues to transmit in the rural, mountainous 2/3 of Haiti's landmass difficult to appreciate by the major NGOs and officials based in the 1/3 of Haiti that is urbanized. There is little question the highest fatality rates and destructive social outcomes are observed in these rural areas. Case fatality rates still reported by officials represent underreporting and bias towards areas of Haiti with the best access to health care.
We also emphasized the HEAS did all of this for less than $20,000 US.