When cholera arrived unexpectedly in Haiti in October 2010, a great mystery unfolded as disease and death decimated the population. Deadly River (Cornell University Press/ILR Press, 2016), and this supplement tell the story of cholera in Haiti, of French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux’s determined to find its origins so he could help eliminate its reach, and of the political intrigue that has made that effort so difficult.

The story involves political maneuvering by powerful organizations such as the United Nations and its peacekeeping troops in Haiti, as well as by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The book explores a quest for scientific truth and dissects a scientific disagreement involving world-renowned cholera experts, embroiled in the political turmoil of a poverty-stricken country. More than that, it raises issues about how wealthy nations and international institutions respond when their interests clash with the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The story poses big social questions and offers insight not only into how to eliminate cholera in Haiti, but also how nations, humanitarian agencies, and international organizations such as the UN, WHO and CDC deal with catastrophic infectious disease epidemics.

This supplement, organized according to Deadly River’s chapters, presents maps, figures, photos and documents referred to in the book. The three dropdown menus provide links to 409 slides in the various chapters and epilogues, while the PDF menu includes original maps, photos and documents described in 55 of the slides.


Placeholder imageRalph R. Frerichs is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at UCLA where he was active as a full-time faculty member in the Fielding School of Public Health for 31 years, and as the Epidemiology Division chair in a single department of public health for one year and founding Epidemiology Department chair in the School of Public Health for 12 years. During his long academic career, the author consulted with many international agencies including the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, Population Council, UN, WHO, USAID and CDC on epidemiological- and management-related activities in 16 countries [Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras, Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Mongolia, Federated States of Micronesia and the country of Georgia]. He pioneered the use of rapid community-based surveys and epidemiologic simulation models for focused research. The author also evaluated HIV saliva tests to be used for surveys, surveillance and screening purposes, and helped institute nationwide HIV sentinel surveillance strategies. In his spare time, he created and still manages the popular John Snow website, honoring the historical father of epidemiology, known for his insightful research on cholera.

Honors include the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, the American Epidemiological Society (an honorary society of epidemiologists since 1927), UC Berkeley's invitation as Ralph Sachs Visiting Scholar for his work in computer technology in developing countries, outstanding alumnus of Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the Prestigious Plaque for HIV/AIDS Education from Thailand's Ministry of Public Health and Bangkok's College of Public Health at Chulalongkorn University.

His interest in Haiti began in 2010, following the onset of what would soon become the world’s greatest cholera outbreak. Wondering if a modern John Snow might be out there to assist Haiti led to his subsequent friendship with Renaud Piarroux.

The author has two adult children, Peter and Christine. He was married in Florence, Italy to Rita J. Flynn, following the death of wife Marcy M. Frerichs after 34 years of marriage. The couple resides in Southern California at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.

His curriculum vitae is available here (PDF).

Created and managed by Ralph R. Frerichs