165 health professionals from the country arrived in Sierra Leone on Thursday.
A related question to ask is
‘could Cuba in turn be impacted by the return of a physician who does not know he/she is infected?’
Cuba has an excellent healthcare system, and has taken steps that outshine many of the other country’s attempts to deal with Ebola.
This has certainly been a feather in the cap so to speak. But the next questions we all have to ask, the same that all other countries sending help need to ask as well, is how might this put ‘Us’ at risk back home?
The point here is not to stop any international aid that is taking place due to Ebola. The purpose of this posting is to more strongly state the criticisms out there about how borderline the success of preventing the international, intercontinental spread of Ebola has become.
Cuba’s problem, were Ebola to enter the region, according to my opinion (based on studies, but still an opinion), is that Cuba has that additional factor to contend with regarding possible Ebola migration and penetration. Cuba has some high risk community settings due to low income related living conditions. The rural neighborhoods in particular that are low income have additional risk factors to consider, such as the natural climate and topography settings that helped Ebola travel its paths over the decades in Africa, through both southern and northern hemispheres. But there are also the vegetation settings and animal spatial ecology patterns to consider. The potential hosts, carriers and the like are there in the Cuban setting. There is enough rural territory, with rolling terrain and highly varied microclimate settings, to make it possible for a parallel to the African tropical nidus to be discovered in a part of Cuba. That is the heart of the matter in terms of Ebola and its potential for migration to Cuba.
Cuba is an isolated region, like Iceland was for the various Measles epidemics that have been researched there over the decades. One of the last things Cuba needs is for Ebola to reach its homeland.
The Cuban economy and healthcare system are generous in what its people are are doing right now, participating in the Ebola epidemic response programs. So, it is up to WHO and CDC to develop a more effective, prevention-minded program in order to prevent an accidental transportation of the disease to other places.
The Cuban healthcare workers are no doubt more alert to this problem of possibly travelling with Ebola by accident than even the international and governmental groups seem to be. But the repeated migration of isolated cases, from one area to the next for other countries (including the US), isn’t comforting when a disease highly epidemic due to its natural ecology becomes a passenger finding its way to a new nidus or "hot spot". The climate, topography, zoology, ecology and latitude and longitude for Cuba are right, making it possible for ebolavirus to become ecologically stable within this new setting.