Published Date: 2012-07-10 11:46:30
Subject: PRO/EDR> Cholera, diarrhea & dysentery update 2012 (28): Cuba
Archive Number: 20120710.1195962
CHOLERA, DIARRHEA AND DYSENTERY UPDATE 2012 (28): CUBA
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 10 Jul 2012
Source: Boston Herald, Miami Herald report [edited]
The number of cholera cases confirmed in eastern Cuba jumped from 30 to 85 over the weekend [7-8 Jul 2012] but the death toll remained at 3, one government official said, although independent reports put the number of deaths as high as 15. As many as 5 other cases of cholera also were unofficially reported in Havana, and dissidents in Guantanamo near the eastern tip of the island reported cholera-like cases in Caimanera, a village on the edge of the US naval base.
The state-owned TV station in Granma province, where the outbreak has hit hardest, suggested that residents avoid traveling outside the area, and trucks with loudspeakers urged them to boil water and wash their hands often, 2 residents said.
Public health officials in the British-run Cayman Islands, just south of Granma, issued a advisory against travel to Cuba, and US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R[epublican]-Florida, warned potential travelers that visiting the island "may put them at risk of becoming ill with cholera." The CDC in Atlanta had not issued any special travel notices on Cuba as of Monday evening [9 Jul 2012]. Its Web page recommends only general vaccinations, like those for hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, and rabies.
Cuban government epidemiologist Ana Maria Batista Gonzalez told Granma's Telecentro TV station Sat 7 Jul 2012, that 30 cholera cases had been confirmed in the province, then raised the number to 85 when she appeared again on the station the next day, said [SM], a doctor and dissident in the Granma town of Manzanillo.
A Cuban government statement, on 3 Jul 2012 -- the only other official word on the outbreak, said 53 cholera cases had been confirmed and that the outbreak was "under control." There was no explanation for the conflicting numbers, although it's possible that the number 53 referred to cases in the southeastern region, not just Granma.
Batista also noted the number of suspected cases in Granma rose from 332 to 346, and more general cases of diarrhea and vomiting rose from 3422 to 3998, [SM] said. Most of the cases have been recorded in Manzanillo and the provincial capital, Bayamo, as well as nearby municipalities of Niquero, Yara, and Bartolome Maso, Batista said. All are along Cuba's southern coast, about 415 miles [670 km] east of Havana.
Batista said the death toll remained at 3, the same number the government reported on 3 Jul 2012. A Bayamo dissident said he had heard reports of 5 deaths and [SM] put it at about 10. Havana dissident [CM] has reported about 15.
Police continued a heavy security presence at area hospitals and relatives were not allowed to visit patients with cholera, CM said. He was fired from his public health job after he began speaking out against the government and his wife became a human rights activist.
Cholera was declared eradicated in Cuba no later than the early 1900s, but an ongoing outbreak in neighboring Haiti has killed more than 7400 people and scores of Cuban doctors have worked there.
[Byline: Juan O Tamayo]
[Caimanera is in Guantanamo Province and, as can be seen on a map of the provinces of the island nation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_Cuba), it is separated from the epicenter, Granma Province, by Santiago de Cuba Province. As noted in the posting, Havana (in La Habana Province) is on the other side of the island.
The numbers continue to grow but vary dramatically related to the source of the data. In most outbreaks of cholera, the number of confirmed cases is relatively small compared to the total number probably infected. With almost 350 cases of suspected cases and about 4000 cases of "general" diarrhea, a significant number of these numbers may well be caused by _V. cholerae_. - Mod.LL
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1B7y.]