* Outbreak has not spread
* Some 158 cases, three deaths reported
* Health Ministry says new cases declining
By Marc Frank
Havana, July 14 Cuba said on Saturday that a
cholera outbreak in eastern Cuba is diminishing and has not
spread to other parts of the country.
A Public Health Ministry statement said there were 158
confirmed cholera cases and three people had died since the
illness was first detected in Manzanillo, a city of 130,000
residents located on the southern coast of Granma province.
"The outbreak of cases transmitted through water is
diminishing, with no indication the illness has spread through
food or other means," Saturday's Health Ministry statement said.
"Isolated cases have been diagnosed in other parts of the
country in people coming from Manzanillo. There is no spread of
this epidemic," it said.
Cuban authorities first reported the outbreak on July 3,
stating there were 53 cases and three deaths at the time.
Manzanillo residents, especially those who live on the
outskirts of town, rely on wells and latrines that flooded in
June due to heavy rainfall, contaminating water and causing
thousands of cases of severe diarrhea, of which some proved to
Cholera, a bacteria that quickly spreads through
contaminated water, is generally not fatal but can kill in just
a few hours when diarrhea and vomiting cause dehydration,
especially among the elderly.
While residents in Granma province have been kept informed
through radio and television as the government moved to limit
the outbreak, national authorities remained mum after the July 3
statement, fueling rumors of a national epidemic.
A number of countries, including Cuba's biggest tourism
provider, Canada, have posted travel warnings.
The United Nations says Cuba has one of the best preventive
health care systems in the developing world and it has ample
experience battling cholera in Haiti, where hundreds of Cuban
doctors and nurses have worked for over a decade and a cholera
outbreak has killed more than 7,000 people since that country's
(Editing by David Adams and Philip Barbara)