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As enthusiasm swells to visit the island nation of Cuba, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control urges visitors to take precautions to prevent contagious disease.
Cuba is rated an “intermediate” health risk, by the CDC, but officials warn travelers to be up to date on vaccines for every trip.
As infrastructure in Cuba grows to accommodate U.S. leisure and business travelers, officials say health risks are present, particularly in the water system, according to reports.
Here are the main health threats when traveling to Cuba:
The Pan American Health Organization and Cuban health authorities have reported more than 700 cases of cholera in Cuba, including three deaths, since July 2012. The outbreak is ongoing.
The CDC recommends that visitors to Cuba drink and use bottled water, be sure water is safe to drink and wash hands often with soap and safe water. There is no vaccine available in the U.S. for Cholera.
Zika is a risk in Cuba. Because Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects, women who are pregnant should not travel to Cuba.
Get a typhoid vaccine. Typhoid can be contracted through contaminated food or water in Cuba, the CDC reports.
Hepatitis A, is an infectious disease that affects the liver, and many cases have no symptoms. It can be contracted through contaminated food and water. Get a vaccine.
Rabies is found in dogs, bats and other mammals in Cuba. Particularly for those travelers involved in outdoor activities, working with animals or children, it is important to get a vaccine.
Hepatitis B can be contracted through sexual contact, contaminated needles and blood products. It is recommended to get this vaccine if a traveler may decide to get piercings, have sexual relations or medical procedures or a get a tattoo in while in Cuba.
The CDC recommends that travelers make sure they are up to date on their routine vaccines including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine and a yearly flu shot.