Chikungunya in Cuba

Negligence and Violations Opened the Door to Zika in Holguin

Negligence and Violations Opened the Door to Zika in Holguin / Juan Juan

Juan Juan Almedia, 8 September 2016 — A commission put together by
senior management from the Ministries of the Interior and of Public
Health in Cuba has released a report that enters into evidence the
origin of the entrance of the Zika virus into Holguín Province.

“Soldiers and Doctors,” a paraphrase of the title of the book by Carlos
Loveira, matches a chain of avoidable oversights and violations,
committed in the service area of airport security.

“There are videos from the airport cameras showing the guys who, instead
of paying attention to the temperature scanner, left to carry luggage in
order to get tips from the passengers on international flights.” An
officer tells me this unabashedly, and, on cue, he prefers to remain

“By doing this,” he continues, “they neglected epidemiological vigilance
and Zika came into the province of Holguín. But, apparently, they
already took the measures required by the authorities of the Frank País
International Airport, and they expelled those implicated, who are at
the disposition of the competent body, because their failure to perform
their duties facilitated the propagation of this illness in the province.”

My interlocutor says, “The miserable salary that the customs agents
receive and the lack of incentives for those in charge of looking after
border security was what really provoked the failure or negligence in
airport protocol, permitting someone infected to come into the Holguín
region, and the later development of new ’autonomous’ cases that, as you
know, are residents in the city of Holguín who have never traveled abroad.”

A doctor in the province with authority on the subject added, “Now what
is most worrisome is controlling the vector, meaning the mosquito, Aedes
Aegypti. Although they are taking precautions to identify the possible
existence of new cases and are studying the viability of taking samples
from animals and/or humans in order to develop vaccines, in addition to
coordinating health actions with various institutions and raising the
consciousness of the population with vigilance and vector control, all
these things seem to be insufficient, because we still have it here and
we know that the mosquito is changing its usual behavior.”

This past February, the World Health Organization declared the Zika
virus a world health emergency.

From La Voz del Morro, by Juan Juan Almeida.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Source: Negligence and Violations Opened the Door to Zika in Holguin /
Juan Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba –

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