THE Ministry of Public Health has communicated regular information to the public concerning an outbreak of gastro-intestinal infections, spread through water supplies, in the province of Granma.
This outbreak developed during a time of year characterized by heavy rainfall and high temperatures, which increase the risk of water contamination and severe diarrheic illness. The population in Granma has been systematically informed of the epidemiological situation via regular radio and television broadcasts.
As a result of analyses undertaken, the presence of bacteria Cholerae 01, toxigenic biotype Tor, serotype Ogawa was detected, indicating the contamination of several local water wells. This was confirmed by provincial laboratories, the Pedro Kourí National Institute of Tropical Medicine and the National Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology Institute.
The epidemic outbreak originated in Manzanillo, with associated cases in other municipalities within the province, as well as in Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo and Havana. All of these associated cases proved to be isolated, occurring in individuals who had traveled from Manzanillo. They were identified by our effective system of epidemiological monitoring and opportune measures were taken to prevent further contagion.
With the appearance of the first cases, the National Public Health System took necessary steps to guarantee appropriate treatment, epidemiological vigilance, active monitoring to identify the ill and a public educational campaign to prevent the spreading of the bacteria.
A total of 417 cases were reported, confirmed clinically and epidemiologically, with laboratory identification of the bacterium. The majority of the cases involved adults and, as previously reported, only three deaths occurred.
Since the situation was first detected, the highest leadership bodies of the government and Civil Defense have given the outbreak their attention. Initial steps taken included a meeting led by the President and Vice President of the Council of State, with the Ministers of Public Health, Economy and Planning, Basic Industry and Construction, as well as the President of the National Institute of Water Resources and the Chief of the Civil Defense General Staff.
These leaders decided to send a national group to work alongside local authorities to respond to the epidemic.
Workers involved in the response to the outbreak deserve recognition, especially those in Public Health and Water Resources, as do residents of the province who conscientiously and effectively cooperated in all efforts.
In all of the areas where infections were detected, safe supplies of potable water were provided and steps were taken to improve hygiene.
The representative in Cuba of the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization visited the province, reviewed actions undertaken, and praised the rapid, effective response to the outbreak.
Ten days have passed since the last case of cholera was confirmed. The Minister of Public Health has therefore announced that the outbreak is over.
Clinical epidemiological monitoring will continue across the country in an effort to reduce the risk of another outbreak. The population is reminded of the importance of maintaining hygienic conditions, protecting food and water supplies from contamination, especially during the summer months when heavy rainfall is common.
Ministry of Public Health
August 27, 2012