Cuba Maintains Close International Health Surveillance

Havana, Aug 20 (Prensa Latina) For many years Cuba has maintained a strategy of international health monitoring to minimize entry into the country or emerging of communicable diseases, health authorities indicated.
Niurka Molina, Head of the Department of International Health Control, in the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap), said they have taken the necessary measures to prevent the introduction of Ebola virus, a disease that today affects four West African nations.

Molina, an expert in epidemiology, said border controls are carried out and there is close communication with the Cuban medical brigades abroad, particularly those working in countries involved in the current outbreak.

She explained that a checkup is made to all the personnel from the island before traveling, and a weekly reported is received with data that include the state of health of the Cuban collaborators and date of arrival in the island for the care needed until to primary health level.

The official also said that travelers from Africa, Southeast Asia, South and Central America and the Caribbean, get special treatment, monitoring mainly malaria and other diseases.

However, specialists consider necessary to reinforce individual hygiene and prevention.

Until today, the Cuban nation does not report any case of Ebola.

Manuel Santin, national director of Epidemiology in the Minsap, said the spread of the virus in West Africa and within neighboring countries with most of the cases, is due to the high border circulation, problems in the identification and monitoring of contacts, non adequate practices for prevention and control of infections, and the existence of transmission chains that have not been detected.

He stressed that Cuba does not have direct flights to the affected nations, but the introduction of the virus can occur through international travelers, mainly by air, and for that reason authorities implement the measures and continue efforts to deal with a possible introduction of the illness.

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