Cuba brings cholera outbreak under control
News from Cuba | Friday, 13 July 2012
Cuba’s first cholera outbreak in over a century is under control and has not spread to other parts of the country.
A Public Health Ministry statement said there were 158 confirmed cases and three people had died since the illness was first detected in Manzanillo, a city of 130,000 people, in early July.
"The outbreak of cases transmitted through water is diminishing, with no indication the illness has spread," the statement said. Although other cases had been reported in other provinces, they all originated from Manzanillo.
Manzanillo residents - especially those who live on the outskirts of town - rely on wells and latrines that flooded in June due to heavy rainfall, contaminating water and causing thousands of cases of severe diarrhoea.
Following the initial outbreak, public health authorities mobilised a number of preventative measures - including a temporary ban on fishing and bathing off the coast that may be contaminated, the closure of infected wells and buckets of fresh water being placed outside public buildings so people can wash their hands and feet with chlorine bleach. Clean water is being trucked in and residents of Granma province - the site of the outbreak - are shown a nightly television programme on how to prevent infection.
The United Nations says Cuba has one of the best preventive health care systems in the developing world and it has ample experience battling cholera in Haiti, where hundreds of Cuban doctors and nurses have worked for over a decade.