Dengue Zika Chikungunya Cuba
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    Cuba says Zika tally rises to nearly 1,900 cases

    Cuba said on Thursday 1,847 residents had so far contracted the
    mosquito-borne Zika virus, warning that certain provinces on the
    Caribbean island still had high rates of infestation despite a series of
    measures to stave off the epidemic.

    At the start of the global Zika outbreak, Cuba managed for months to
    fend off the virus that can cause microcephaly in babies as well as
    Guillain-Barre syndrome, even as neighboring territories like Puerto
    Rico were hard hit.

    The Communist-run country called out the military to help fumigate,
    activated neighborhood watch groups to check for places with standing
    water where mosquitoes breed, and instituted health checks at airports
    and other entry points to the island.

    “Even though we have managed to reduce the cases of infestation… there
    are still provinces like Havana, Guantanamo, Cienfuegos and Camaguey,
    with big risks and rates of infestation,” the head of the Civil
    Defense’s Department of Disaster Reduction, Gloria Gely, was quoted as
    saying by state-run media.

    Although generally a mild disease, the virus is a particular risk to
    pregnant women as it can cause microcephaly – a severe birth defect in
    which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

    Gely did not detail how many of the cases were contracted locally nor
    whether there had been any instances of babies born with microcephaly on
    the island of 11.2 million inhabitants.

    There is no preventive treatment against Zika, but drug companies are
    rushing to develop a vaccine. The virus has spread to more than 60
    countries and territories since the current outbreak was identified in
    Brazil during 2015.

    (Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta; Editing by Frances Kerry)

    Source: Cuba says Zika tally rises to nearly 1,900 cases | Reuters –
    www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-cuba-idUSKCN18E25G

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