Fifty-three people contracted cholera in Manzanillo, a city in the eastern province of Granma, and three died from the bacterial disease, the Cuban government said Tuesday.

"A variety of germs have been identified among all the patients seen to, with 53 cases diagnosed with Vibrio cholerae, of whom the three fatalities were elderly adults ages 95, 70 and 66, all with records of chronic illnesses," the Public Health Ministry said in a statement published in the offical daily Granma.

In the case of the three people who died, "the standard investigations are being carried out to determine the exact cause of death for each one."

The outbreak in the city of Manzanillo "is under control" and the trend is toward a diminishing number of cases thanks to the hygiene, health-care and anti-epidemic measures carried out in the area, the ministry said.

Ailments with severe diarrhea have been increasingly detected on the island in recent weeks as a result of the high temperatures and heavy rains, the ministry said.

The province most affected by these illnesses was Granma and specifically the city of Manzanillo, which saw "an outbreak of gastrointestinal infection due to bacteria in the water from several polluted wells used for the local supply of drinking water," the ministry said.

Doctors in that city saw 1,000 patients and performed checkups on more than 98 percent of the population.

To control the situation, health officials adopted measures like taking samples from private and state wells in order to close down those that were contaminated. They also distributed chlorinated water, cut off water outlets and provided a health-education program for the inhabitants.

"All the necessary resources are available to attend patients adequately at all medical centers," the ministry said.

People should comply with the health measures related to personal hygiene, water and food, the ministry said.

Several months ago, Public Health Ministry officials said that cholera was one of the 15 diseases eradicated in Cuba, together with others such as polio, malaria and diphtheria, according to the daily Granma. EFE