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Southeast Cuba hit by cholera

Officials in Cuba have confirmed an outbreak of cholera in the southeast of the island, near the town of Manzanillo.

So far three people have died and 53 have been taken ill with the illness, according to a report in Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper Granma, which has suggested that water wells in the area are to blame for the cholera outbreak.

Cholera Infected water

It is thought around 1,000 people in the area have received medical attention – samples of water from various sources have been tested and chlorine is being added to water supplies.

Health officials in Cuba have said that the situation is under control and that the country has “all the necessary resources to provide adequate attention to patients”. There had been some criticism in Cuba that there were not enough medical supplies to treat cholera patients.

It is thought a period of high temperatures and heavy rainfall may have led to the cholera outbreak, after drinking water became contaminated.

The disease was eliminated in Cuba by 1960 and this is the first outbreak there since 1959. The last cholera epidemic in Cuba was in 1882.

Local radio in Cuba is broadcasting health advice on how to prevent cholera and health officials are visiting homes to stress the importance of good hygiene and food preparation, including washing hands and cleaning surfaces.

Up-to-date information about any public health issues for holidaymakers will be available from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) or your tour operator.

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Dated: 04/07/2012

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