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Cuba acknowledges Havana cholera outbreak

Jan. 16, 2013 at 1:40 AM

HAVANA, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A food vendor who became infected with cholera in eastern Cuba is believed to be the source of an outbreak in Havana, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities said at least 51 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the capital, the BBC reported. There had been rumors of an outbreak because of an increase in cases of diarrhea and a report of at least one death.

The outbreak is the first in Havana in several decades. The government said the disease was first discovered Jan. 6, and officials believe public health measures taken since them mean it is now in "extinction phase."

Officials said restaurants have been closed in the Cerro district, believed to be the center of the outbreak, and only sealed food and beverages can be sold. Doctors have been doing house-to-house surveys looking for people with symptoms.

Cholera spreads through contaminated food or water. Restaurants or vendors like the vendor believed to have brought the disease to Havana are common sources of infection.

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