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Cholera hits Romania

BUCHAREST, Aug. 21 -- Five Romanians have come down with choloera despite nationwide efforts to stem the spread of the disease, the Romanian Rompres news agency said Monday. Citing Dr. Petre Ciobanu of the Health Ministry, Rompres reported two new cases of cholera in the cities of Braila, northeast of the capital Bucharest, and Sibiu, northwest of Bucharest.

Three other cases were previously reported in two cities along the banks of the Prut River where Romania shares its border with Moldova and the Ukraine. Although authorities have declared the situation 'is under control,' Ciobanu said the spread of cholera could not be checked entirely. 'All these cases have been imported from the East,' said Ciobanu. In Romania, cholera usually breaks out yearly in fishermen's settlements in the Danube delta area, where people are accustomed to drinking water directly from the river. The Romanian Health Ministry has publicly warned people against drinking river water unless it is boiled, while keeping a vigilant eye on tourists coming from Ukraine and Moldova, where large numbers of cholera cases have been recently reported. Strict medical surveilance has been extended to international airports as well. On Monday, Rompres reported an Indian passenger had been prevented from checking through customs after he was found to be 'seriously suffering from acute diarrhea.'

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