Since mid-June, health officials in Cuba have been trying to stop the spread of cholera throughout the country. The outbreak has occurred around the municipality of Manzanillo, where patients originally arrived after they had all been eating shrimp at a local private party, CNN reports.
More and more people started to arrive at the hospital with similar symptoms, all pointing to cholera. One health official said that over 30 people arrived at a hospital one day with the same symptoms, making doctors concerned that a real outbreak had begun in the country.
Officials report that only three people died. All of the victims were elderly. While there have been criticisms of the government and speculation that the death tolls reported are lower than the actual amount of people who have actually been affected, doctors maintain that the outbreak is under control.
Cholera is spread through water, so the government has shut down businesses that sell beverages, smoothies or items that require water. The government has also set up washing stations with chlorine bleach for disinfecting hands and feet. They have handed out chlorine tablets and tried to educate the whole population on the risks of contamination, the Huffington Post reports.
Cuba is known for its high level of organization when it comes to natural disasters and emergencies. Workers were sent out immediately to remove stagnant water and other possible carriers of diseases.
After about 85 reported cases of the outbreak, no new deaths have been reported in the last week. The last big cholera outbreak to occur in Cuba was over 100 years ago. Most countries have effectively stopped outbreaks of the disease but the monsoon season in Cuba mixed with high temperatures have created the perfect setting for the cholera to breed.
While health officials have stated that the outbreak is now under control, Canadian and European officials have sent out a warning to travelers to be aware of the outbreak. CBC News quotes the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention website:
The risk to European travellers remains low, yet if the outbreak spreads beyond this region, the risk should be reassessed.
It appears that the preventative measures that the government has put in place has contained the spread of infection within Granma province. Less than one percent of those treated when they contract cholera die of the illness. Those who go untreated have a much more increased chance of death, mostly due to rapid dehydration of the body.
Photo Credit: Tomasz Sienicki
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