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HAVANA — The Obama administration sent some of the United States’ top infectious disease specialists to Cuba on Wednesday to open a new phase in medical cooperation after more than a half-century of isolation.

Two dozen US and Cuban experts on tropical diseases opened three days of meetings about each country’s research into insect-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. US Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell was to fly to Cuba Thursday to attend.


The visit is part of President Barack Obama’s push to build irreversible momentum behind his detente with Cuba in the final months of his administration. The administration has issued six sets of regulations loosening the 55-year-old US trade embargo on Cuba, but the executive actions could be reversed by a future administration.

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