Cuba Insists that Cholera Won’t Spread

January 15, 2013 | Print Print |

51 confirmed cases in the capital

The “Pedro Kouri” Institute of Tropical Medicine

HAVANA TIMES – The Ministry of Public Health of Cuba informed on Tuesday the existence of cholera cases in different municipalities of the capital but emphasized that the situation is under control.

The blame for the outbreak was placed on a food vendor, an asymptomatic carrier of the disease, who contracted it previously during an outbreak in another province.

The Ministry stressed that with the prevention measures already introduced the disease “is in its phase of extinction.”

The following is a translation of the press release published today in the official media.

INFORMATIVE NOTE TO THE PUBLIC

The Ministry of Health reports that as of Sunday January 6 the clinical epidemiological surveillance system detected an increase in diarrheal diseases in Cerro municipality and later in other municipalities in the capital city. A group of these patients had symptoms and signs that etiologically led to suspect cholera, leading to activation of the measures envisaged in the anti-cholera plan, for which we have all the necessary means and resources.

Microbiological analysis conducted by the “Pedro Kouri” Institute of Tropical Medicine, determined that the causative agent is Vibrio cholerae O1 Tor enterotoxigenic serotype Ogawa, and that to date there are 51 confirmed cases.

According to epidemiological assessments conducted the transmission was generated by a food dispenser, asymptomatic carrier of the disease, acquired during outbreaks previously reported in other regions of the country.

As a result of the actions taken the transmission is in the extinction phase. This was made possible, above all, by the permanent vigilance and responsiveness of our health system.

We repeat the need for increased hygiene measures, especially those related to handwashing, the drinking of chlorinated water, proper washing and cooking of food, as essential aspects in health care.

Ministry of Public Health of Cuba


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    Please forgive my scepticism, but the government claim that “cholera won’t spread” is hard to believe. For a while they denied there was any cholera, then they admitted there were a few cases in the eastern part of the country, then they admitted there were more, and for weeks as rumours of cholera in Havana spread, they denied it was there. Now they admit it’s in “parts of Havana”, but insist it’s all under control. Sure it is.

  • Moses Patterson

    Governments all over the world struggle to tell the truth , not just in Cuba. The saving grace in most countries is that the people can rely on an independent media to expose the most flagrant and poorly-conceived government lies. This, hopefully, serves to cause a chilling effect of government’s tendency to hide bad news or overstate good news. Because the media in Cuba is controlled directly by the government, Cubans can not rely on Cuban media to serve as a watchdog for their well-being. This news, like all other news reported by Cuban media must be taken with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, only time will tell if there is any truth to what should be good news.

  • Camil

    Most negative comments to the cholera are from those living in countries who do not support the Castro regime. I am sure most Canadians believe the Cuban health system (the best in the world) will take the nessary steps to assure the safety to Cubans and visitors.
    Camil Breau
    New Brunswick, Canada

    • Griffin

      Camilo, the Cuban healthcare system is far from the best in the world. It has been falling behind for the past 20 years. Hospitals and clinics are short of supplies and medicines. The medical trading is not up to international standards. The system is under increasing strain and this is why they have failed to stop the spread of cholera from Santiago when it first appeared in August, then to Holguin and now to Havana. The medical professionals are doing the best they can but government efforts to keep the outbreak secret only made matters worse.

    • Moses Patterson

      Camil, have you actually ever been to a Cuban hospital or policlinico? If you have, did you stay overnight? If so, you probably had to bring your own food, towels and bed linens. I assume you remember how poorly lit the wards are and how the cleaning staff somehow failed to clean the room you and 11 other patients share. I hope you didn’t need too many tests or, God forbid, surgery. Blood work can take forever unless you give the laboratory staff an extra 10cuc you have left over after you receive your 20cuc monthly salary. Well, the good news is the access you have to doctors right? I hope your Cuban doctor was not too tired when he saw you as he likely was up late the night before in his house fixing blenders in his second job. Cuba public health is far from the best in the world. As a third world country, Cuba has had phenomenal success in providing universal access to free health care. But, Cuba’s system had suffered dramatic declines in serivice and quality for many years and resting on laurels earned a generation ago.