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Cuba suspends carnival festivities to prevent spread of cholera outbreak

Thursday, July 19th 2012 - 08:09 UTC
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The famous celebrations are scheduled for August The famous celebrations are scheduled for August

Traditional summer carnivals in the eastern Cuban cities of Bayamo and Manzanillo have been suspended due to an outbreak of cholera in the region, authorities said on Wednesday.

The celebrations, scheduled for August, were cancelled “to avoid the spread of the disease” a Communist Party official in Granma province told the foreign news agencies.

Though the cholera situation is under control, authorities were concerned about possible contagion of the “floating population” attracted by the carnivals, said a source in the Bayamo municipal government.

The outbreak was detected last month in Manzanillo, a city of more than 130,000 residents that has accounted for a majority of the 158 cases of cholera admitted by Cuba’s Public Health Ministry. Three people have died so far, according to the official account.

The outbreak is easing and the few “isolated cases” of cholera in other parts of Cuba have been traced to people who were infected in Manzanillo, the ministry said in its latest bulletin, released last Saturday.

Authorities in Granma have banned the use of wells, distributed a chemical compound to purify water and called on residents to boil water before drinking, cook food thoroughly and wash their hands often.

Cuba’s last cholera epidemic was in 1882 and the current outbreak is the first since 1959, the year Fidel Castro toppled strongman Fulgencio Batista.

Cuban doctors and nurses as part of international aid are working in Haiti where a serious outbreak of the disease has been reported. Cuban authorities believe there could be a link with returning staff.

 

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