Cuba Increases Prevention against Ebola
August 18, 2014
Thus far no Cuban has been diagnosed with the virus
By Fabian Flores (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — Government authorities have increased control measures to
prevent the possible introduction of Ebola into Cuba and to act
immediately if a case is detected in the country. So far no Cuban has
contracted the deadly virus.
The Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) and other agencies remain on
alert and with extra vigilance on passengers arriving in Cuba from risk
countries. Likewise, the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine in
Havana is fully prepared to receive and treat people who may be
diagnosed with Ebola, health officials said on Saturday.
MINSAP managers in the areas of epidemiology, disease control and
international medical cooperation met with representatives of the press
to draw a picture of the epidemiological situation and insist on
preventive control of Ebola within and beyond national borders.
The airlines have taken the corresponding sanitary measures and at ports
and airports monitoring and control actions are in place as well as a
series of warnings about the need for personal hygiene and in food
handling, both in the home or in their production and sale.
“We have to take special care in the case of contact with people from
affected countries and stay informed on the epidemiological situation,
even more rigorously if it comes from people traveling to countries
where cases of Ebola have been reported,” said Dr. Jorge Perez Avila,
director of the Institute of Tropical Medicine.
Perez Avila explained that the medical staff has basic gear such as
gloves, caps, gowns and masks for protection in cases of patients
suspected to be infected with Ebola, and are enabled with all necessary
accessories when the presence of a person sick with the virus is detected.
“The observation of African students arriving in Cuba is a health
priority,” said Dr. Niurka Molina Aguila, Head of the Department of
International Health Controls.
Today, when passengers pass through the airport terminals they are
monitored by a temperature scanner and everyone who arrives in the
country with more than 37.5 degrees (99.5 F) is monitored to check the
temperature manually and doing a physical exam if necessary.
If the situation of the traveler so merits he/she is transferred to the
Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine or designated hospitals in
No infected Cubans
To date no Cuban has contracted Ebola in Cuba or abroad, and the
authorities of the Ministry of Public Health have strict controls in
place for medical missions serving in West African countries hit by the
A total of 16 Cuban doctors are working in four regions of Guinea
Conakry and 23 in four areas of Sierra Leone, two of the nations most
affected by the virus, which since its spread in March, has brought on
1,711 cases and 932 deaths.
Although in the institutions where they work some Ebola cases have been
diagnosed, the Cuban staff is not in contact with the infected.
While vacationing in Cuba, the doctors working in Africa received
preparation to deal with patients suspected of having the virus, but by
a decision of the authorities in Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone they
have stayed away from that task.
Decision by the host governments
“It was a government decision of these countries that our doctors be
kept isolated from areas where patients infected with the disease are
treated,” said Dr. Jorge Delgado Bustillo, deputy director of the
Ministry of Health’s Unit for Medical Cooperation.
Nonetheless, the Cuban doctors use the means of protection in the care
of patients attending the clinic for consultations and treatments for
During the meeting, Dr. Manuel Peña Santín, Santin Peña, MINSAP director
of Epidemiology, addressed the epidemiological situation of the country,
characterized by outbreaks of dengue and cholera, and 13 cases of the
Chikungunya virus. The first report on Chikungunya, issued by MINSAP in
June, put the number of cases at six, which then rose to 11 in July.
The specialist said there is “an imminent risk” regarding Chikungunya
“due to our geographical location.”
The number of patients with dengue and cholera, which have proliferated
throughout the country during the summer months, was not specified.
Source: Cuba Increases Prevention against Ebola – Havana Times.org –