Context: According to World Health Organization (WHO), the world reported more than twice as many cholera cases in 2022 as in 2021. Also, between these years, the number of countries reporting more than 10,000 cholera cases doubled. Most cholera cases continue to be reported from Africa and Asia, with Europe accounting for a few imported cases.
- It is bacterial infection of small intestine that causes a large amount of watery diarrhoea.
- It is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated (water-borne) with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
- Vibrio cholerae has two strains called O1 and O139 of the bacteria Vibrio cholerae.
- Of these, O1 is responsible for almost all outbreaks; outbreaks of O139 are rare and none have been recorded outside Asia.
- V. cholerae O139 was first identified in Bangladesh in 1992.
Symptoms of Cholera
- It is highly contagious disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea.
- It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms like profuse watery diarrhoea, vomiting, leg cramps, sunken eyes, reduced urine output,etc.
Transmission of Cholera
- Transmitted to humans through water or food which is contaminated with the cholera bacterium.
- Cholera can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.
Prevention and Control of Cholera
- It is an easily treatable disease. Majority of people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of oral rehydration solution (ORS).
- Zinc is an important adjunctive therapy for children under 5, which also reduces duration of diarrhoea.
- Currently, there are three WHO pre-qualified oral cholera vaccines (OCV), Dukoral, Shanchol, and Euvichol-Plus. All three vaccines require two doses for full protection.
- Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) by WHO: Provide a forum for technical exchange, coordination, and cooperation on cholera-related activities to strengthen country’s capacity to prevent and control cholera;
- Created in 1992 in the context of an unprecedent cholera outbreak in Peru.
- Ending Cholera: Roadmap to 2030: In 2017, aims to reduce cholera deaths by 90% and to eliminate cholera in as many as 20 countries by 2030.
- Country Support Platform (CSP): To strengthen GTFCC support to countries, hosted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) provides multisectoral operational support for countries.
- Since 2021, there has been an increase in cholera cases and their geographical distribution globally.
- In 2021, 23 countries reported cholera outbreaks, mainly in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. This trend has continued into 2022 with over 29 countries reporting cholera cases or outbreaks.
- The average cholera case fatality ratio (CFR) reported globally in 2021 was 1.9% (2.9% in Africa).