Radio Marti reports that in recent weeks, dozens of people in several municipalities in the province of Matanzas have been admitted to health facilities or quarantined at home for diarrhea and other symptoms typical of cholera. Opponents and independent journalists quoted by the broadcaster said the outbreak is affecting at least 5 municipalities of the province: Cardenas, Union de Reyes, Jovellanos, Pedro Betancourt, and Marti. Independent journalist Oscar Sanchez Madan said 2 doctors, one them a gastroenterologist, who requested anonymity, confirmed some of the patients have cholera.
The doctors said they have been instructed not to inform the population and that the rest of the cases have diarrhea caused by other pathogens. The doctors work in Cardenas, where many people who work in the nearby tourist resort of Varadero live. According to Sanchez Madan, despite the secrecy with which the matter is being handled, sanitary measures that have already been seen in other parts of the country where cases of cholera have been detected, are being implemented in the city.
The delegate of the Patriotic Union of Cuba in Cardenas, Eduardo Marcos Pacheco Ortiz, described an atmosphere of nervousness among the people, who try not to eat anything on the street. He said that although local authorities refrain from mentioning cholera, everyone knows what it is because of the measures being implemented, such as urging people to wash their hands, dip their shoes in chlorinated water when entering public places, and enhance the repair of leaks in sewers. In several of the affected areas authorities have closed cafeterias and banned self-employed persons from selling refreshments.
Pacheco estimated at 30 the number of cases in Cardenas. An activist said in her Twitter account that about 33 people had been admitted to the local hospital. According to Pacheco, patients who arrive at the Julio Aristegui Villamil hospital in serious condition are hospitalized and the others are sent home and quarantined.With cholera such an open secret, it's surprising that the Pan American Health Organization hasn't made a fuss about it. After all, the Cubans are keeping quiet in part to keep from scaring tourists away. But tourists could contract cholera too, and carry it home.