1998 - Cholera in Africa
09 January 1998
Disease Outbreak Reported
Many countries in eastern and southern Africa are currently affected by severe outbreaks of cholera. Despite control measures which are being undertaken, past experience suggests that the cholera epidemic will spread to other countries, accompanied by a very negative impact on public health and serious social and economic consequences.
National authorities in collaboration with WHO and other agencies are continuing to implement and strengthen cholera prevention and control measures in the affected countries and countries at risk. The cholera situation in the region has triggered questions and interest regarding appropriate measures to prevent the international spread of cholera.
WHO advises that travel and trade restrictions have never proved to be effective in controlling the international spread of cholera but that sound public health practices are the most effective approach.
WHO therefore recommends that:
countries should not use travel and trade restrictions, quarantine or frontier controls in the efforts to prevent the spread of cholera; if there is a theoretical risk of cholera transmission through trade, agreement should be reached between exporting and importing countries on the most appropriate public health measures to prevent transmission. These could include measures to validate good practices at food processing plantstourism to cholera affected areas should not be restricted no country should require travellers to have been vaccinated against cholera (International Health Regulations) mass chemo-prophylaxis should not be used in efforts to control cholera