Officials: No new Cuba cholera cases

Local health officials in the Cayman Islands are cautioning travelers to Cuba remain vigilant and follow basic cholera prevention guidelines if traveling there following the recent outbreak of cholera.

According to a press release from the Cayman Islands Public Health Department on Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization have issued no recent reports on the cholera outbreak and no travel restrictions are in place.

However, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams is urging travellers returning from the region to contact a doctor immediately and state their travel history if they develop diarrhea within five days of their return.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that is the result of ingesting contaminated food or water. It causes rapid watery diarrhea that leads to severe dehydration.

According to World Health Organization figures, up to 80 percent of cases can be treated successfully with oral rehydration salts.

The disease is spread through water which may be tainted by the faeces of infected persons or by untreated sewage. Food can be contaminated by using this tainted water or by being handled by someone who has cholera.

According to local health officials, the chances of a cholera outbreak in the Cayman Islands remain “very low as the islands have modern water and sewage treatment systems”.

Prevention tips

The Public Health Department advises the following tips to prevent contracting cholera: Drink only bottled, boiled or chemically-treated water and/or bottled or canned beverages; ensure that seals are unbroken when using bottled drinks; and disinfect your own water – boil for one minute or filter the water and add two drops of household bleach or half an iodine tablet per liter of water.

Travelers are also advised to use bottled, boiled or chemically-treated water to wash dishes and brush teeth and use ice in drinks only if they know it was made from boiled or treated water.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that is the result of ingesting contaminated food or water.