Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic in October 2010, the Dominican Republic and Haiti have reported thousands of cholera cases and related deaths. Cases of cholera decreased in 2012 compared to 2011, although they continue to be reported throughout both countries. There have been increases in the number of cases during seasonal heavy rainfall in the months of May to July and September to October.
Cholera cases have been reported in Cuba since first reports of an outbreak in July 2012. Following Hurricane Sandy, there have been cases of cholera reported in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey and Guantanamo. Since early January, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has reported an increase in the number of cases of illness with diarrhea in Cerro, a municipality in the capital city Havana. Cases were also later reported in other areas of the city. To date, tests have confirmed 51 cases of cholera.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. People usually become infected from drinking or eating contaminated water or food. It is associated with watery diarrhea and rapid dehydration, which can be life-threatening.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends practising safe food and water precautions while in Cuba, Dominican Republic or Haiti.