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Posted January 21, 2012 by publisher in Cuba Travel

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CBC News and Globe and Mail comments

At least 11 people arriving in Ottawa and Toronto Canada aboard flights from Cuba on January 20 complained of a stomach illness, officials said.

It marked the third time in a week passengers arriving from Cuba reported being ill.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed passengers on at least three flights to Canada from Cuba had reported gastrointestinal illnesses. As well, passengers from a fourth flight —which arrived in Toronto yesterday afternoon — reported similar symptoms.

The first report came from a flight from Cuba to Ottawa on Tuesday, with seven people reporting similar symptoms. On Thursday, a flight from Cuba to Toronto arrived with 20 passengers reporting similar complaints.

Viral illness

Ottawa and Toronto public health officials, alerted to the trend, were ready when flights landed in their respective cities Friday.

Air Transat Flight 677 with 260 passengers returning from the Cuban tourist destination to Ottawa was delayed and then briefly assessed by quarantine officers at the Ottawa airport early Friday morning after 14 passengers complained of illness.

Paramedics spokesman J.P. Trottier said the illness appeared to be viral.

“Only two were exhibiting signs of symptoms of what we would determine as flu-like symptoms, being nausea, vomiting and diarrhea,” said Trottier.

Passengers stayed at 4 different resorts

The passengers were soon cleared and allowed to return home.

Later Friday afternoon, Air Transat Flight 509 from Holguin, Cuba landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Eleven people who reported feeling ill were assessed by public health nurses. None needed to be treated or transported to hospital.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said although many passengers reported staying at the same resort, at least four different resorts have been identified.

“The kind of illness is not uncommon but it is still important to take precautions and complete assessments,” the agency said in a statement.


About 300 people left comments about the multiple illnesses from multiple destinations over multiple days.

Many of them wondered how a virus is not considered to be contagious.

I will update the story when I read a comment from the Cuban government (meaning there probably won’t be an update).

  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 27, 2012 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    OOps. Maybe travel to Cuba isn’t so much fun after all…

    Vacationers stranded in Cuba for 29 hours by Brent Wittmeier, Edmonton Journal

    A flight delay that stranded 177 Edmonton-bound passengers in Cuba for more than 29 hours has prompted a Canadian travel company to station a second flight crew in the area.

    Sunwing Travel Group announced the decision Thursday, a week after foggy conditions and flight crew rules resulted in a delay of 29 hours and 25 minutes.

    Flight 393 from Santa Clara, Cuba, slated to arrive in Edmonton at 11: 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, didn’t arrive until 4: 35 p.m. the next day.

    Cuba consulting services

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