Cholera in Cuba, confirmed 158 cases
According to official sources, there have been 158 confirmed cases of cholera and at least 3 victims in the town of Manzanillo in the east province of Granma, approximately 900 km from Havana, Cuba.
It is thought the water-bearing stratum in the outskirts of Manzanillo has been infected with cholera following problems with the sewerage system after heavy rains in June.
A spokesman for the Cuban Public Health Ministry confirmed the news, and also said that in the last few days they have increased the production of sodium hypochlorite to be distributed in the affected areas in order to purify the water.
According to some sources, which have not been verified, the situation is much more serious with at least 15 victims and thousands people affected in Niquero, Yara, Pilón and in Bayamo, the capital of the Granma province.
In Havana, residents said there have been unconfirmed reports of cholera in the capital, especially near José Martí International Airport, as well as rumours of an increase in dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that thrive during the hot and rainy months of summer.
The risk of infection has alarmed the Mexican authorities, which have reinforced the checks on the flights coming from Cuba to Cancùn and Merida. It is considered likely that US authorities will require special certifications from the passengers arriving on direct flights coming from the island.
The British embassy in Cuba confirms that the last few weeks have seen an increase in the number of gastrointestinal infections, including cases of cholera, in the province of Granma, in eastern Cuba. The majority of cases, including three deaths, are in the municipality of Manzanillo. However, there are no travel restrictions in place.
We recommend that travellers always follow the advice of the Health Protection Agency, which can be checked by clicking on this link http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Cholera/choleraCholerafactsheet/ and also visit the Foreign Office‘s website http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/north-central-america/cuba for updates on the situation.
We would like to remind all UK citizens that, since 1st May 2010, all travellers, both foreigners and Cubans living abroad, must have a valid and comprehensive travel insurance covering medical expenses to be allowed to enter Cuba. You will be expected to present your insurance policy on arrival in the country.