Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Number of reported cholera cases

Situation

In 2016, 38 countries reported a total of 132 121 cases. Cases were reported from all regions, including 17 countries in Africa, 12 in Asia, 4 in Europe, 4 in the Americas, and 1 in Oceania. Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Yemen, Somalia, and the United Republic of Tanzania accounted for 80% of all cases. Of cases reported globally, 54% were from Africa, 13% from Asia and 32% from Hispaniola. Imported cases were reported in 9 countries.

Globally, however, the true number of cholera cases is known to be much higher. Cholera represents an estimated burden of 1.4 to 4.0 million cases, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths per year worldwide. The trends and annual figures exclude many cases labeled “acute watery diarrhoea”, notably occurring in south-eastern and central Asia (e.g. in Bangladesh and Pakistan). However, during outbreaks, many countries report as cholera many cases of acute watery diarrheoa which are not due to Vibrio cholerae. The actual numbers of cholera cases are therefore known to differ from those reported. Differences can be explained by under-reporting due to fear of negative impact on travel and trade. Limitations in surveillance systems, inconsistencies in case definitions and lack of laboratory diagnostic capacities may also contribute to under- as well as over-reporting.


Trends

In 2016, reported cases worldwide represented a 23% decrease compared to 2015, when 172 454 cases were reported. The decline in cases, though, is accompanied by a more than doubling of the case fatality rate (1.8% in 2016 vs 0.8% in 2015). Many people still die of the disease notably in Sub-Saharan Africa and Hispaniola, clearly showing that cholera remains a significant public health problem.