Cuba struggling with first cholera outbreak in more than a century
'El evento' outbreak has claimed three lives and sickened many others
Cuba is dealing with its first cholera outbreak in more than a century.
'El Evento" as it has been dubbed by doctors has claimed three lives and
sickened more than a hundred so far.
The outbreak was first mistakenly diagnosed as food poisoning as the first patients - complaining of diarrhea and dehydration, all attended the same birthday party in Manzanillo. The sick had all eaten shrimp at the party.
Then more people began walking into hospitals - who had not attended the party with similar symptoms. "They started coming in a few at a time," Julio Cesar Fonseca Rivero, the director of the Celia Sanchez Manduley Hospital, the largest in the region says.
"The first day five came, and then eight. That's not normal, that five people would come with the same symptoms. The most critical days were when there were 30 to 32 patients who arrived in a single day."
Diarrhea is not unusual for Manzanillo's hospitals as many in the area live without indoor plumbing. The summer had already been particularly hot with heavy rains that caused outhouses to flood into several drinking wells.
"The way that the outbreak developed and the appearance of other similar cases in the region, we realized this was a problem of a different magnitude," Dr. Manuel Santin Peña, Cuba's national director of epidemiology said.
It was determined that the mystery illness was cholera - unusual, as Cuba's last cholera outbreak occurred over a century ago. While eradicated in many countries, cholera infects between three million and five million people each year, killing between 100,000 and 120,000.
Doctors were waiting on test results for tens of other possible cases but said so far fewer than 30 percent of suspected cases had been shown to be cholera.
A handful of suspected cases had been identified elsewhere in Cuba. Santin says those cases had come from the same region where the original outbreak took place and are believed to have been infected there.
"We can categorically say that there is no other outbreak in any other province," Santin told CNN.
The local government has closed 12 contaminated wells around Manzanillo, Santin said. Clean water is being trucked in for residents until a different source of water can be found.
Entrances to hospitals and government buildings in the city provide buckets for people to wash their hands and soles of their shoes with chlorine bleach. In addition, kiosks throughout Manzanillo that sell milkshakes, iced drinks or other foods that came into contact with water have been closed.
A temporary ban has also been issued for fishing and bathing in waters off the coast that may be contaminated.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Americas News
- The evil pit of despair that awaits illegal immigrants deported to Tijuana
- ¡Dios no es una amenaza para el ser humano!, clama el Papa Francisco
- Fracking protesters in Canada set up burning tire blockade, dance around flames
- Brazilian teen girls becoming prostitutes before World Cup in bid to escape poverty
- Organizan en Argentina bicicletada por la libertad religiosa
- Madre de Gustavo Cerati: Dios es quien decide sobre la vida y la muerte de mi hijo
- Mexican drug cartels now illegally mining iron ore for shipment to China
- #VideoViral: ¿Por qué traer un niño a este mundo?, publicidad de multinacional sorprende a pro-vidas
- Mons. Arancedo pide reforzar matrimonio y derechos del niño en nuevo Código Civil
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?