Cuba travel warning still in place

Health officials in Cayman are warning people to take precautions if they travel to Cuba due to the ongoing outbreak of cholera.

According to the latest report from the Pan American Health Organisation, three people have died from cholera in Cuba and the number of confirmed cases has reached 236, as of 29 July, in the Manzanillo province of Granma.

“There are no travel restrictions. If you have to go, take vital precautions such as ensuring hygienic food preparation, boiling or purifying all water, and washing hands often with soap and clean water. Travellers should also carry an ample supply of oral rehydration salts,” Cayman’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingesting contaminated food or water with cholera bacterium. It can take between five hours to five days for symptoms to appear after infection, but usually symptoms appear within 24-48 hours. Cholera infection is often mild or without symptoms but can sometimes be severe.

Travellers to Cuba are advised to contact their doctor immediately if they develop watery diarrhoea and vomiting within five days of leaving. It is also important to state their travel history to their doctor. This advisory is applicable to travellers to Haiti and Dominican Republic, the two other countries in the region affected by cholera.

“Cholera is not present in the Cayman Islands and the chances of importation of cholera into Cayman are limited and even if it occurs, our excellent sanitation and safe water will prevent its spread. In addition, we have adequate facilities and drugs to manage any case should importation occur,” Dr. Kumar said.

For more information on cholera, call the Public Health Department on 244-2621.

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