Central Cuban Gov. Moves to Fight Dengue in Holguin

Holguin, Cuba
Holguin, Cuba

By Progreso Weekly

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government has sent its vice minister of Health and the head of the Water Resources Institute from Havana to the province of Holguín to supervise the battle against an outbreak of dengue fever and cholera that has already caused the cancellation of the popular annual carnival, originally set for Aug. 20-23.

Vice Minister of Public Health, Jose Angel Portal Miranda.
Vice Minister of Public Health, Jose Angel Portal Miranda.

Vice Minister Jose Angel Portal Miranda and Ines Maria Chapman, a member of the nation’s Council of State, met with Luis Antonio Torres Iribar, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Holguin, and Marcia Aguero Sanchez, vice president of the provincial government, to work out a strategy to control the spread of the diseases, Radio Angulo reported on Friday.

Political and civic leaders, health officials and other provincial and city functionaries attended the meeting, notes the radio station’s website.

Portal Miranda said that Holguín is the only Cuban province affected by the outbreak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease characterized by high fever, rash and muscle and joint pain. In severe cases, the disease can cause severe bleeding, shock and death.

Cholera is a bacterial disease that usually spreads through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, which, left untreated, can be fatal within hours. Cases of cholera have been reported in Holguín’s municipality of Calixto García, according to Radio Angulo.

Marcia Aguero Sanchez, vice president of the provincial government of Holguin.
Marcia Aguero Sanchez, vice president of the provincial government of Holguin.

“The problem is that Holguín had no cases of dengue for years and people lost their fear of that disease,” Portal Miranda told the local press. “That worsens the situation, because it can cause deaths, as indeed has happened.” He did not say how many casualties had occurred.

Cuba is the only country with an integral program for the control of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which carries the dengue virus, Portal Miranda said. “There is sufficient experience in that program, with properly trained personnel, enough laboratories and hospitals,” he added.

To curb the spread of the mosquito in Holguín City, “aerial fumigation was carried out at dawn on Monday [Aug. 3] and house-to-house fumigation was begun from the city’s perimeter toward the center and back,” Aguero Sánchez said.

Ines Maria Chapman, a member of the Cuban Council of State.
Ines Maria Chapman, a member of the Cuban Council of State.

City residents were asked to cover all water tanks in homes to discourage mosquito procreation and to sanitize their drinking water with sodium hypochlorite.

Torres Iribar said that every effort was being made by local health authorities to halt the spread of mosquitoes and disinfect the drinking water. He called for an increase in the number of health inspections and the activation of rapid-response teams to handle the fumigation in outlying municipalities.

Unofficial sources told Progreso Semanal that the Holguín Surgical Hospital had an overflow of dengue cases, so health authorities were converting the School of Humanities of the Lucero Moya University into an emergency hospital.

In all, four medical centers have been made available to dengue patients, plus the local Pediatric Hospital and a field hospital at the Nursing Station. Cholera care units have been opened at every clinic in the city, a Progreso reporter was told.

5 thoughts on “Central Cuban Gov. Moves to Fight Dengue in Holguin

  • Another issue is bats. They are dieing off. We have been going to Holguin for the past 9 years and at first there were thousands of bats. Now they are almost extinct.

  • Cuba to its credit seemed to manage to overcome the previous cases of Cholera – I think only two cases were reported in Havana the others all being further east with the origin thought to be Haiti.
    The current Dengue outbreak is scary. If it is active in Trinidad there will be a high risk for tourists as there are lots of areas of standing water.

  • Cuba is 90 miles away from the US , anything that affect them eventually affect us .
    I was living here when hurricane Charlie came through , there was no services for weeks , looking outside through the window was difficult to see from all the mosquitoes on the window screen , after service resumed I could hardly see any, they just seem to come out of the blue every once in awhile , The amount of effort that goes into controlling mosquitoes in a subtropical climate is immense ,some off the Mosquito-borne Diseases in Florida are as follows ,
    HealthChikungunya Fever (CHIK) DengueEastern , Equine , EncephalitisMalariaSt. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)Rift Valley Fever (RVF)West Nile Virus (WNV)Yellow Fever Virus (YFV)Contacts
    It is all here in South Florida .
    http://www.floridahealth.gov is one of the sites I used to get information on this issue , it is extremely informative , link below
    one of the reports I come across on West Nile disease suggest there’s more off it in Denver Colorado then in Florida , interesting.
    Circumstance like this is the time to put differences aside and cooperate with our neighbor on solving this problem , after all they are our neighbor and we are theirs , I have no doubt if we ever needed help they would be there for us

  • Once this news gets out to the tourist market, there will be ensuing reductions in the number of visitors. In our city the neatly uniformed team of sanitary inspectors charged with destroying the mosquitoes have been regularly visiting every house, putting chemicals in any small water source – the little water containers on the back of older refrigerators, any plant pot holders in water containers and checking that all water tanks are covered.
    It appears that in Holquin, those who should have ensured similar action have now been appointed to remedy their own neglect.

  • There is a lot of this in Trinidad as well. Friend was hospitalised last month but survived. Phew!

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