Cuba’s Public Health Ministry has announced that an outbreak of cholera has ended and put the final tally at three deaths and 417 cases — an inexplicably higher number of confirmed cases than its last official totals.
A ministry statement in the Granma newspaper reported that the overwhelming majority of the cases were in the city of Manzanillo in eastern Granma province. It said no new cases had been reported in more than 10 days, so the outbreak was being declared over.
The three deaths were the same reported in the national government’s only previous comments on Cuba’s first outbreak of the deadly disease in decades, on July 3 and July 13.
But the 417 confirmed cases was far higher than the 158 cases the national government reported on July 13 and the 263 cases reported by Granma provincial health officials only 15 days ago on Aug. 13, the last of their daily reports on provincial television.
The gap may be caused by the number of cholera cases confirmed outside Granma province. The ministry’s announcement Monday said cholera cases were reported in Havana, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba, all among people who had been in Manzanillo. It gave no numbers for the cases outside Manzanillo, but previous government announcements had indicated that few such cases had been confirmed.
The ministry blamed the outbreak on the heavy rains that lashed Granma in mid-June, flooding outdoor toilets and contaminating water wells. The bacteria apparently was brought to the area by Cuban medical personnel working in Haiti, where a cholera epidemic has killed more than 7,400 people.
Granma published the ministry announcement without any additional details or comments.