Published: Oct 25, 2010 6:33 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 25, 2010 3:34 PM EDT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Health authorities in Haiti say a deadly cholera outbreak is beginning to stabilize.

Michel Thieren of the Pan-American Health Organization says the fatality rate and the number of new infections are dropping. But he says the disease is still expected to spread gradually beyond the central rural area where it emerged last week.

Health Ministry director Gabriel Timothee said Monday that 259 people have died, but only six "since yesterday." The waterborne, bacterial disease causes acute diarrhea that can kill within hours.

Aid groups have been racing to keep cholera from reaching the quake-hit capital. Timothee said the government has been asked to remove garbage around the homeless camps hosting more than 1 million people.