Cholera Outbreak in Cuba

The Miami Herald reports that the first cholera outbreak in Cuba in a century has left at least 15 dead, according to a post in Miami-based blog Café Fuerte [Strong Coffee] written by Havana independent journalist Calixto R. Martinez. The situation has been described as “chaotic.” Blogger Yoani Sánchez has also written on the apparent outbreak. [Also see previous post Cuban cholera outbreak reaches Havana.]

“There are 1,000-plus cases” in the southeastern province of Granma, said Yoandris Montoya, who lives in Bayamo, the provincial capital. [. . .] Santiago Marquez, a physician in the neighboring town of Manzanillo, said there is “a lot of panic” in the region because of the lack of official information about the intestinal disease.

Cuba’s Public Health Ministry, which rarely makes public any information that could give the island a negative image, declared Tuesday it had “controlled” an outbreak of cholera that had killed three people and affected 50 others in Granma province. But unofficial reports from the region Friday indicated the disease was continuing to spread, with hundreds more suspected cases jamming hospitals in Manzanillo and Bayamo. Montoya said more cases were reported in nearby Niquero and Pilón.

[. . .] Cholera was reported to have been eradicated in Cuba in the late 19th or early 20th century, although it has killed more than 7,400 people and sickened 574,000 in Haiti, just east of Cuba. Scores of Cuban medical personnel work in Haiti.

[. . .] Havana residents said there have been unconfirmed reports of cholera in the capital, especially near José Martí International Airport, as well as rumors of an increase in dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that thrive during the hot and rainy months of summer.

Spanish tourism companies operating in Cuba meanwhile noted that they have not been affected by the outbreak and that Granma province is far from the main tourist areas in Havana and the beaches along the northern coast. “Everything is under control,” declared the Cuba director for Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Cánaves, according to Preferente.Com, a travel industry website.

For full article, see http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/06/2885410/cholera-reportedly-kills-15-sickens.html#moreb

For Yoani Sánchez’s article, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/cholera-outbreak-in-cuba_b_1647843.html

Photo from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/07/cholera-allegedly-kills-15-sickens-hundreds-in-cuba-/1

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