Canadian travellers are continuing to return from Cuba with more than their vacation memories.
For the fifth time in less than a week, a Canadian airline is reporting several ill passengers on a flight returning from the vacation destination of Holguin.
Although many travellers on each flight reported staying at the same resorts, at least four resorts have been identified amongst the travellers onboard the first four affected flights, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Health officials in Cuba have been contacted, said Sylwia Gomes, a spokeswoman for Public Health, and in Canada agency officials are monitoring the situation.
Fifteen passengers on an Air Transat flight that landed in Montreal late Saturday reported feeling sick, said Debbie Cabana, a spokeswoman for the airline. The airline contacted health officials before the plane landed, she said, but once passengers were on the ground it was determined that because of the mild nature of their symptoms, health officials were not required.
The airline is taking extra precautions to disinfect planes travelling to the island and crew are being advised to be extra vigilant about hygiene, she said.
Michelle Larabie said she got sick on a plane returning to Toronto from Holguin on Jan. 13, a week earlier than the other flights. She said she began feeling nauseous while in the air, and her sickness and diarrhea lasted nearly a week.
“As soon as we landed, I had to run to the washroom,” Ms. Larabie said.
She had been at the Club Guardalavaca resort for a week and said she had eaten at the Cuban airport shortly before returning to Canada.
The latest report follows four other cases of sick travellers on planes from Cuba since January 17, with two landing in Toronto and two in Ottawa. Those passengers were assessed by public health inspectors who determined that there was no need for a quarantine and no evidence of a significant health risk, Mr. Gomes said.
The passengers’ symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. They are consistent with norovirus, often linked to food handling, but officials are waiting on test results to determine the cause of the sickness, Ms. Gomes said. Norovirus is more commonly known as the Norwalk virus.
With a report from Chris Hannay