Cuba Declares Cholera Outbreak Over

The Ministry of Public Health building in Havana. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health announced today that the recent outbreak of cholera in eastern part of the island is now over, after having registered a total of 417 cases, reported DPA news.

In a news note published in the official Granma newspaper, the ministry announced that it is considering the outbreak as “terminated” because there have been no more cases in the last ten days.

At the same time, the ministry acknowledged that the epidemic that was initially detected in the eastern region had reached elsewhere, including Havana, in “isolated cases.”

Until now the authorities had not confirmed the frequent rumors of cholera as having also reached the capital. The outbreak — officially explained as having been caused by contamination of water wells — was first detected in the town of Manzanillo, in Granma province, and was announced in early July.

“It has been more than ten days since the last confirmed case, therefore the Ministry of Public Health is considering this outbreak to be over,” read the statement dated Monday, August 27.

“This outbreak originated in Manzanillo, with associated cases in municipalities in the provinces of Granma and Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and Havana,” the note said. “All of those events that were later characterized as isolated cases occurred through people who had traveled from Manzanillo.”

According to health authorities there were a total of 417 clinically confirmed cases of the epidemic, including three deaths.

The island had not suffered from a cholera outbreak in over a century. Indeed, in early January authorities still had cholera listed as one of 15 diseases eradicated in Cuba, along with polio, malaria and Chagas disease.

Agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization considered that cholera could have reached Cuba from Haiti. An outbreak of that disease on the neighboring island has killed thousands of people since October 2010.

The epidemic, which emerged in Haiti months after the devastating earthquake of January 2010, also struck the Dominican Republic and cases of infection were also reported in the US state of Florida.

The eastern region of Cuba is closest to that neighboring Caribbean island and many Cuban doctors are working in medical missions to combat cholera and other diseases in Haiti.