Science, Tech & Environment

Epidemics and politics: can Haiti learn from history?

Demonstrators in Haiti have been protesting an outbreak of cholera, which has killed more than 1,000 people and has hospitalized more than 16,000 in the past month. The riots began on Monday in northern and central Haiti, over suspicions that U.N. peacekeepers had brought the epidemic to the country from Nepal. But protesters have also used the issue to make a political statement, burning campaign posters of Jude Celestin, the candidate of President Rene Preval's Unity Party ? just ahead of national elections coming up on November 28th, 2010.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Haiti correspondent Jacqueline Charles, from the Miami Herald, joins to update us on the situation in the country. She is joined by Philip Alcabes, professor of public health at Hunter College in New York and author of "Dread - How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics," who says that diseases turn into "epidemics" when they meet with social and political crisis.