14ymedio, Yosmani Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 4 June 2015 — In the midst of preparations for the 5th Centenary of the foundation of Santiago de Cuba, the Hygiene and Epidemiology agencies have enacted several measures to counter cholera outbreaks detected in Altamira and Venceremos in the Santiago capital. The epidemic, thought to have been controlled, has rebounded in slums such as La turbine, La Posita, La Loma de la Candela and El Barrio de los Gitanos.
Gertrudis Mendoza, a medical clinic nurse, told 14ymedio that “There are many suspected cases that came to the 28 de Septiembre clinic.” During her shift last Saturday, “More than six people showed up with diarrhea, who were then taken to a larger clinic to be tested for cholera.”
In the streets of these neighborhoods cars with loudspeakers from the Provincial Hygiene and Epidemiology Center circulate several times a day, repeating the hygiene measures needed to contain the infection. A call to boil drinking water, frequent hand washing, and avoiding eating street food, are some of the recommendations detailed by the Center’s staff.
Luz Enidia, a resident of Los Muros, says that near her house “A private snack bar was closed down because a man who ate a pizza there was diagnosed with cholera and hospitalized.” Afterwards the place was sanitized according to the protocols. “Hygiene workers came with chlorine and lime to clean everything, but even so the snack bar remains closed.
In the Labadi Home for the Aged and Disabled workers were advised of the extreme need to follow “the maximum hygiene”
In the Labadi Home for the Aged and Disabled in the Antonio Maceo neighborhood, workers were summoned to an urgent meeting to advise them of the extreme need to follow “the maximum hygiene,” so that the vibrio cholerae can’t enter the institution “because the lives of elderly and disabled people are at serious risk,” says a source of the place who requested anonymity.
Yudith Cando, the mother of a child who studies at the Alberto Paz Primary School in La Planta, states that a teacher in the school has cholera and she believes that, although she is hospitalized, the school should take appropriate measures. Like her, many local residents are demanding that the issue be handled with transparency and that public authorities make clear the city’s epidemiological situation.
However, so far the authorities have not confirmed the information and the local newspaper Sierra Maestra has not spoken of the presence of cholera in the area.