Increase in cholera cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “worrying surge” in cholera cases across the globe.

Key facts

  • 26 countries have reported cholera outbreak in 2022. This is problematic since, normally, less than 20 countries report cholera outbreak every year.
  • Haiti had recorded at least 7 cholera deaths for the first time in 3 years. The health crisis in the Caribbean country was worsened because of surge in fuel prices, which has caused shortages in clean drinking water and adversely affected the operations of healthcare facilities.
  • Conflict, poverty and climate crisis are the main reasons behind the spike in cholera cases at the international level.
  • Extreme climatic conditions like flooding, cyclones and droughts are reducing the access to clean water and supporting the spread of cholera.
  • The WHO warned that these outbreaks are expected to be larger and more fatal in the coming years because of climate change.
  • In 2021, the fatality rate has tripled when compared with the previous 5 years.
  • Currently, the WHO does not have accurate figures on the cholera cases and deaths because of the absence of standard surveillance system in the affected countries.
  • In India, cholera is endemic. This year, the number of cases in Maharashtra surpassed the last year’s figures, resulting in 261 cases and at least 6 deaths in July. The number of deaths in the state is highest in this decade.
  • Though cholera cases are spreading, this disease can be prevented easily.
  • The fatality rate can be reduced below one per cent through the timely and proper administration of oral rehydration and intravenous fluids.
  • While GAVI, the vaccine alliance, has the emergency stockpiles of vaccines against cholera and other diseases, such measures are inaccessible to many countries.
  • Though the WHO has these vaccines, there is a huge shortage because of manufacturing problems. There are insufficient number of vaccines to respond to both acute outbreaks and implement preventive measures.

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