Cuban authorities battle Dengue Fever ahead of Pope’s visit
Reports surfaced in Miami that Cuban Government health officials, wrestling with a outbreak of Dengue Fever had dispatched 450 health workers to the Eastern city of Holguin. As a result the city’s annual carnival has been cancelled. The report later confirmed by Cuban state run media, which does not often report specifics of public health issues, did not mention that Pope Francis would be in Holguin September 21st as part of his much anticipated visit to the Island. Huge crowds, including many U.S. travelers are expected to be on hand for the Pope’s mass and later blessing of the city.
Dengue fever is an ongoing issue in Cuba.
Dengue fever is mosquito carried disease that causes fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and can result in death if the victim develops dengue shock syndrome and blood pressure drops. Cuba has experienced Dengue outbreaks going back to 1977. Over the years U.S. and Canadian Health agencies have cautioned travelers to avoid areas where there have been Dengue outbreaks. In February of this year The National Bureau of Epidemiology of Cuba warned of the dengue potential as being high. Sherri L. Porcelain teaches global health in world affairs at the University of Miami. In a recent article produced for the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies she cautioned that “…a growing interest in U.S. approved trips must consider Cuba’s lack of safe potable water, sanitation and sewage issues along with housing challenges. This is important because while it is unreported, cholera transmission exists within Cuba.”
International experts meet in Havana to discuss Dengue Fever.
The week of August 10th will see Havana hosting the 14th Annual International Dengue Course. According to state run media the course, with the involvement of the World Health Organization, will feature discussions highlighting the management of patients, advances in research, effects of climate change and the latest methods to cope with and control Dengue Fever.
Cholera watch in Cuba removed by U.S center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A check of the CDC website as of August 10th finds that an earlier Cuba cholera watch has been removed. The University of Miami’s Dr. Andy Gomez notes “if the Cuban government is sending 450 health workers to Holguin it is a indication that the are doing their utmost to contain the problem before it effects the American travelers looking to visit Cuba.”