Cholera Outbreak in Cuba


cholera prevention sign board

cholera prevention sign board (Photo credit: Sustainable sanitation)

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.


2 Responses to Cholera Outbreak in Cuba

  1. Angela Richter August 7, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Honestly, Cholera in this day an age? Even dogs are smarter than to defecate where they eat and the Cubans can’t figure it out? This Utopia of Marxist Wonders?

    • Alan_Levesque August 8, 2012 at 1:06 am

      I live in Tampa and actually know quite a few Cubans. Some have been here their whole lives and some are fairly recent immigrants. The ones I know who have actually lived in Cuba say it is actually nice there although they prefer it here. According to them, it is not as oppressive as we are told. In talking about the Cholera issue I was told that since it is an island, they are very careful about the water supply and regulate water usage quite aggressively, and that this outbreak is extremely rare. I want to be very clear that I'm not having a love fest with Cuba. I'm just offering up a different point of view as related to me by native Cubans.


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