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HAVANA: A new cholera outbreak — Cuba’s second in four months after a 130-year stretch without the disease — has sickened 51 people in Havana, the Health Ministry said yesterday.
Three people died and 417 were infected in eastern Cuba last year, the first time cholera had been reported on the Caribbean island since 1882.
The latest outbreak was detected on January 6 after a surge in cases of acute diarrhoea in the Cuban capital, a city of 2.2 million people, the ministry said in a statement published in the official newspaper Granma. It said 51 cholera cases had been confirmed.
The Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine traced the disease back to the same strain of cholera that caused last year’s outbreak in the city of Manzanillo, 800km east of Havana in Granma province.
That outbreak was declared eradicated on August 28, nearly two months after it was first detected. The Havana outbreak “is in a phase of extinction,” the ministry said. It said the cholera was “generated by a food vendor, an asymptomatic carrier of the disease, contracted earlier in other regions of the country,” the Health Ministry said. It first appeared in a working class district called Cerro situated in the center of Havana, between the Plaza of the Revolution and the city’s main baseball stadium.
Rumors of a cholera outbreak spread in recent days after doctors and nurses began going door to door in certain neighborhoods to distribute medicines to residents. AFP