Photo: Cholera in Cuba
The State Department through the U.S. Interest Section in Havana has issued a travel advisory warning of a cholera outbreak in Cuba.
The travel alert urges U.S. citizens living in Cuba and visitors to avoid standing pools of water, untreated water, street food and food dishes that are uncooked.
The travel warning was prompted when five foreign tourists became ill with cholera in the months of July and August.
The water-born illness causes intense diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and possibly death. Cholera can spread easily if not treated with antibiotics.
Last year Cuba suffered a cholera outbreak that affected over 400 people and killed three. That outbreak was the first in decades and thought to have been brought to the island by Cuban medical personnel that had traveled to Haiti. Haiti has been suffering an epidemic since 2010 where over 600,000 people have been infected with cholera.
This year the country has not announced an outbreak however the Pan American Health Organization reported nearly 100 cases some caused by the handling of food. In the past the Cuban government has been criticized for its lack of transparency on whether the country is suffering another cholera outbreak. In January the Cuban government confirmed 51 cholera cases but said the contagion of the disease “is on the point of extinction.”