(SAN FRANCISCO) -- While United Nations officials had initially predicted 400,00 people would be affected by the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the outbreak could now affect twice as many people, according to recent estimates by U.S researchers.
Cases of the bacterial disease, which is spread person-to-person and through contaminated water and food, were never reported on the island before last year's catastrophic earthquake.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco say the number of cholera cases could reach 779,000, with more than 11,000 deaths by the end of November 2011. Dr. Sanjay Basu and colleagues determined these estimates after an analysis of data from Haiti's Ministry of Health.
The team based their predictions on factors such as the population's level of immunity to the disease, and which water supplies have been contaminated.
They concluded that the epidemic is likely to be much larger and will last far longer than initial projections.
The researchers told The Lancet journal that more aid will be needed in the Caribbean country.
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