Cholera outbreak over, Cuban government says

Cholera patients are pictured receiving treatment at the Celia Sanchez Manduley hospital in Manzanillo, Cuba on July 11, 2012.

Story highlights

  • The cholera outbreak hit Granma Province the hardest
  • Doctors don't know how the disease was reintroduced to the island nation
  • 10 days have passed since the last reported case of cholera, officials say

Cuba's government declared Tuesday that health workers had eradicated a cholera outbreak that infected 417 people and killed three, according to a statement from the country's Health Ministry.

In early July, Cuba said the sometimes fatal water-borne illness had returned to the eastern part of the island. It was the first outbreak of the disease in Cuba in more than a century.

Cuban doctors battle to control cholera outbreak

Doctors were not certain how cholera was reintroduced to the island, but said that heavy rains that caused outhouses to flood into drinking wells were to blame for the disease's rapid rate of transmission. Cholera, a bacterial infection of the small intestine, causes severe diarrhea and vomiting in infected people.

During a visit by CNN in July to hospitals at the epicenter of the outbreak, doctors said they initially struggled with the surge of people sickened by the disease.

Cuba deals with cholera epidemic
Cuba deals with cholera epidemic

    JUST WATCHED

    Cuba deals with cholera epidemic

MUST WATCH

Cuba deals with cholera epidemic 02:32
PLAY VIDEO

"They started coming in a few at a time," said Julio Cesar Fonseca Rivero, director of the Celia Sanchez Manduley Hospital, the largest in Granma Province. That province was the hardest hit by the outbreak. "The first day five came, and then eight. The most critical days were when there were 30 to 32 patients who arrived in a single day."

The disease, according to the World Health Organization, still infects between 3 million and 5 million people each year, killing between 100,000 and 120,000.

Cuban health officials said they responded to the outbreak by bringing in clean drinking water, closing down food stands in affected areas and setting up checkpoints on roads to keep people ill with the disease from traveling.

Cuban leader Raul Castro mentioned the outbreak in a speech to the nation in late July, saying it had been brought under control.

According to the Health Ministry statement released Tuesday, 10 days have passed since the last reported case of cholera.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.