American tourists are barred from visiting Cuba due to the half-century old economic embargo, but 400,000 Cuban-Americans come down each year for family visits, and about 100,000 others get licenses to come on cultural or other exchanges. There have been no reports so far of any tourists coming down with the illness.
Tuesday's Public Health Ministry statement — carried in the Communist Party newspaper Granma and elsewhere — made no mention of any cholera cases reported outside Havana.
While Cuba's state-run media had been largely silent about cholera before Tuesday, there has been an intensified campaign against water-borne diarrhetic illnesses, of which cholera is one. Several health centers in the capital require visitors to sanitize their shoes by stepping in chlorine when they enter, and state schools have been stressing hand-washing and other hygiene measures.
While some have voiced nervousness over the outbreak, many said they were confident the government had a strong handle on the outbreak.
Beatriz Guerra, a 26-year-old mother of two who lives in Miramar, said a state-run school attended by her eldest son was closed briefly last week to clean and disinfect the rooms and furniture. She said residents had been advised at neighborhood meetings to take precautions and be particularly vigilant of what their children were touching and putting in their mouth.
"I know that they are taking the necessary measures," she said. "One just needs to be very cautious."
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