Cholera Outbreak in Cuba
Cholera has found a new home in Cuba with an outbreak that has already taken three lives and infected more than 100 people. This disease, erradicated in many areas and not seen in this area in years, came sweeping into the town of Manzanillo, causing a wave of sick people to come into the hospital.
Medical personnel stated that they were seeing as many as 30 or more patients a day with the same symptoms. At first it was thought that a group of people had food poisoning because many of the initially infected people had been at the same party. It became apparent later that people who were not at the party were suffering from the same symptoms and, upon further research and testing, it was discovered that all of the victims were suffering from an outbreak of cholera.
This disease causes vomiting, diarrhea and massive deydration which can lead to rapid weight loss and death. These symptoms are all hallmark of food poisoning as well, which is why this outbreak was initially misdiagnosed. There was also confusion because the city of Manzanillo is often very hot and is known for heavy rains that cause flooding and subsequent contamination of water sources, all of which could contribute to cholera-like symptoms.
Once it was discovered that this was an outbreak of cholera, the city attempted to combat this by closing down many public water sources. At least twelve wells were closed after finding that they were infected with this disease. Hospitals began requiring the washing of hands and feet in a bleach solution before people would be permitted to come inside. Water was being brought into the area by trucks in order to decrease the possibility of further spread of this disease via contaminated drinking sources.
There have been three confirmed deaths from this cholera outbreak thus far, and at least 110 confirmed cases of infected individuals according to CNN news reports. People in Cuba had not seen this disease in generations. Despite the new outbreak in Cuba, the World Health Organization claims that there are anywhere from 3 million to 5 million people infected by cholera annually and anywhere from 100,000 to 120,000 people die from complications of this disease.
There is hope that the outbreak will be contained soon as physicians and hospital workers see fewer individuals presenting with cholera symptoms. Government officials are strongly stating that the outbreak has been contained, however there remains speculation as to whether or not the disease has been contained or if the death toll has been fabricated at this time. One thing that is certain is that this outbreak of cholera was unexpected and has caused great concern in regards to this and other diseases of the past.