HAVANA – Cuban health authorities have renewed calls for precautions ahead of an expected resurgence of the AH1N1 flu virus that is blamed for 41 deaths on the island and more than 11,500 fatalities worldwide.
“The presence of the epidemic could increase” with the winter tourist season and an influx of Cubans working or studying abroad who come home for holiday visits, Deputy Public Health Minister Luis Estruch said in Friday’s edition of Communist Party daily Granma.
“We have, as of the moment, fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases. There could be more, but only those endorsed by a virological sample are accepted as official data,” he said.
Estruch, who heads the ministry’s Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology department, called for stepped up surveillance of incoming passengers at Cuba’s ports and airports.
He pointed out that the virus was introduced to the island in May by travelers from Mexico, where the outbreak began.
The AH1N1 flu has claimed 41 lives in Cuba, President Raul Castro said last week in a speech to parliament, the first official update on the death toll since October. EFE