08/22/13 - WBFS - US Travelers Warned After Cuba Cholera Outbreak
MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A health advisory has been issued for all U.S. citizens
traveling to or living in Cuba after an outbreak of cholera in eastern
The advisory was issued by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana after the
The Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert noting the
presence of cholera in Cuba and confirming that foreign travelers have
contracted cholera during recent trips to Cuba.
"This message is to inform U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Cuba that
media reports have indicated that cases of cholera have been identified in
the city of Havana, possibly linked to a reported outbreak of cholera in
eastern Cuba," according to a statement by the U.S. Interests Section.
Read The Full Cholera Outbreak Statement
At Miami International Airport, spokesman Mark Henderson said travelers to
Cuba need to take the advisory seriously.
"Citizens need to be aware that if they're going over to Cuba there seems
to be a potential for an outbreak over there of cholera and take the
necessary precautions," said Henderson.
In the international arrivals area Valentina Perez, who was waiting for
someone arriving from Cuba, said she hadn't heard about the outbreak.
"I didn't know," said Perez. "I didn't know anything about it."
Eating or drinking fecally contaminated food or water is the main risk
factor. Unsterilized water, food from street vendors, raw fish dishes and
inadequately cooked food - like steamed) shellfish - are common sources of
The health advisory urges travellers to follow public health
recommendations including safe food and water precautions and frequent hand
washing to help prevent cholera infection.
Portia Siegelbaum, with the CBS bureau in Havana, reports the the Cuba's
government has said little about the outbreak. However, they have run
public service announcements on television urging people to boil water
because of gastrointestinal illnesses causing diarrhea and vomiting.
The Cuban Ministry of Public Health has also urged people to practice good
sanitary measures associated with personal hygiene, water and food.
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