Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 17:58:42 +0100

Havana, Jan 11, 2019 (AFP) - Seven people, including four foreign tourists, were killed and 33 injured in an accident involving a coach in eastern Cuba, local media reported on Friday.   A Frenchman, a German woman and two Argentine women were among the dead, along with three Cubans, Venceremos newspaper said.   It named the dead as 67-year-old Patrick Demer Tesseran, 59-year-old Annegret Frieda Gohike, as well as Roxana Lauseda Gomez and Nadis Carolina Flores, both 35.

In addition to the dead, three Cubans and two foreigners -- 42-year-old Spaniard Felicita Hurtado and French woman Marline Alphonse, 63 -- were said to be in a serious condition.   "Of the 40 passengers, 22 were foreigners from countries like Holland, England, France, Mexico and Canada," said Venceremos.

The coach overturned while driving on the road linking the city of Baracoa, near Cuba's eastern tip, to the capital Havana.   The driver said he lost control of the coach due to a wet road, claiming to have been driving slowly, the newspaper reported.   However, it said witnesses said the driver had been attempting to overtake another vehicle when he found himself face to face with oncoming traffic, causing him to swerve off the road.   According to official statistics, there were 11,187 road accidents in 2017 that left 750 people dead and 7,999 injured from a population of 11.1 million.
26th December 2018

Cuba. 14 Dec 2018. (published) The authors found that a large and unreported Zika outbreak occurred in Cuba during 2017, a year after peak transmission in neighbouring countries, with cases still appearing in 2018. By sequencing Zika virus from infected travellers, they show that the 2017 outbreak in Cuba was sparked by long-lived lineages of Zika virus introduced from multiple places in the Americas a year prior. Their data suggest that aggressive mosquito control in Cuba may initially have been effective at mitigating Zika virus transmission.
Data: Tue 4 Sep 2018
Source: [in Spanish, machine trans., edited]

The UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported yesterday [3 Sep 2018] that at least 60 British tourists have had to undergo intravenous antibiotic treatment during the current year [2018] after suffering from _Salmonella_ infections while in Cuba. All these tourists became infected after staying in hotel facilities on the island and reported that hygiene conditions around food were not the best. "There were always flies flying over the food; the meat and fish were on the buffet tables raw and without any refrigeration to preserve them," reported interviewed travellers.

Almost all the tourists were affected after staying in the same facility, the Hotel Playa Pesquero de Holguin. At this hotel, 2 weeks ago [around 21 Aug 2018], an English couple who was there to celebrate their wedding and spend their honeymoon lived a nightmare, as, after paying USD 5000 for the event and services, the bride was hospitalized for 5 days and 4 guests became ill from the same _Salmonella_ outbreak.

The complaint was reported by the British media after comments on social networks showed a massive outbreak of food poisoning where everyone agreed that they had been staying in the same all-inclusive hotel, which carries a 4-star rating. Customer complaints were posted on the Facebook page of the Playa Pesquero hotel and confirmed by the same travel agency that organized the trips for these clients.

In the article, they explained that the travellers received free medical treatment, but they had to sign a discharge of responsibilities in which they were committed not to make public declarations on the matter or to establish later demands.

It is not the first time that these complaints have been reported because last year [2017] the news broke that a group of approximately 50 Canadian tourists were infected with _Salmonella_ after consuming food maintained in poor conditions at different hotels when staying in Varadero [beach, Cuba].
[It appears that the salmonellosis outbreak has been spread over most of 2018, which suggests continuing exposure of contaminated food. It is not known if the isolates over time are even the same subtype of _Salmonella enterica_. A similar cluster was reported on ProMED-mail in 2014 from the same hotel. - ProMED Mod.LL]

[HealthMap/ProMED map available at:
Cuba: <>]
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2018 22:52:11 +0200

Washington, June 21, 2018 (AFP) - The United States said Thursday that another diplomat has fallen sick in Cuba with the symptoms of a mystery illness that has hit two dozen of his or her colleagues.   "This is the first medically confirmed case in Havana since August 2017. The number of Americans now affected is now 25," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.   At least one US official has also been hit by the same symptoms in China, as the mystery deepens over the cause of what Washington has previously suggested may have been some kind of attack.

Nauert said Washington had informed Havana of the latest incident on May 29, before it was formally medically confirmed, and reminded Cuba of its responsibility to protect diplomats on its soil.   Another US diplomat has reportedly been evacuated from Havana, but the results of his or her tests have not yet been released.

The apparent victims of the mystery ailment have suffered symptoms consistent with mild brain trauma -- including, in some cases, disorientation and hearing loss.   Some American officials in both China and Cuba reported hearing an unidentified noise before falling ill, and initial reports suggested they may have been hit by a secret sonic weapon.   But US intelligence and medical experts have been investigating for more than a year and seem no closer to identifying the cause.

After holding Cuba responsible for either carrying out the attacks or failing to protect its officials, the US recalled more than half of its staff and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington.   This marked a major diplomatic crisis following the countries' cautious revival of ties in 2015, but Cuba has firmly denied any role in or knowledge of the incident.   On June 10, the Cuban foreign ministry said: "We can confirm that we have no credible hypothesis or scientific explanation that justifies the retaliatory US measures."
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2018 19:41:27 +0200

Havana, June 2, 2018 (AFP) - Heavy flooding caused by Subtropical Storm Alberto killed seven people when it struck Cuba, Civil Defense officials said on Saturday.   Two people are also missing after the storm slammed the island earlier in the week, officials said in a statement published in state-run local media.   The fatalities, all men between the ages of 26 and 77, drowned in different parts of central and eastern Cuba, the regions hardest-hit by Alberto.

The two missing men are aged 18 and 51, Civil Defense officials said.   The deaths are "all due to reckless behaviour," Interior Minister Julio Cesar Gandarilla said Tuesday at a meeting led by President Miguel Diaz-Canel to evaluate the storm damage and its toll, which at that time was four dead.   More than 40,000 people were evacuated in four central provinces due to the heavy rain, state media reported.   The Cienfuegos oil refinery, a linchpin of Cuba's economy, was forced to temporarily close down due to flooding.

About 12,000 cubic meters (nearly 16,000 cubic yards) of oily water spilled into the bay of that central-southern Cuban city. Around-the-clock clean-up operations could cost up to $1 million, a manager at the site told local TV news.   Subtropical Storm Alberto formed in the western Caribbean on May 25, giving an early kick-off to the Atlantic hurricane season one week ahead of schedule.   Last year's Hurricane Irma killed 10 people as it ripped across Cuba in September.
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