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Cholera tests for illegal immigrants negative

Cholera fears were quashed yesterday as test results for the 54 Haitian nationals who illegally landed in the country earlier this week came back negative, Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed.

“We are satisfied that no one in that group was sick,”said Minnis, who added that the immigrants were also screened for other diseases.

The group, which was caught on Sunday sometime after 1 p.m., was flown to New Providence and is currently being detained in the Carmichael Road Detention Center.

The Haitian nationals will be repatriated by the end of the week, Immigration Director Jack Thompson said.

The illegal immigrants were found wandering in Exuma shortly after they landed in the area of Sans Cay, Thompson added.

They were spotted by island residents who called police and immigration officials to warn them about the wandering Haitians, Thompson said.

The group was reportedly walking near the old George Town Airport in Exuma when they were discovered.

Thompson said investigations led to the discovery of a wooden sloop in the area south of Sands Cay, which is south of the old airport.

Initially 17 persons were found, but the number climbed to 54 after Royal Bahamas Defence Force and immigration officials were dispatched to scour the area.

Going forward Thompson said the Department of Immigration intends to remain on the alert.

“We intend to keep a watchful eye,”Thompson said.”With our law enforcement partners, the police and defence force, we’re going to be very vigilant with respect to our borders. We are thankful to the public who gives us so much support. We intend to take all the necessary precautions.”

According to the Center for Disease Control(CDC)an epidemic cholera strain has been confirmed in Haiti. Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial infection.

In a statement the CDC said the cholera outbreak in Haiti has spread to every section of that island, affecting more than 91,000 people and killing more than 2,000. It is the first cholera outbreak in Haiti in at least 100 years. Symptoms of the disease include watery diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps.

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