Health topics

Cholera: prevention and control

 

Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio cholerae present in faecally contaminated water or food. Primarily linked to insufficient access to safe water and proper sanitation, its impact can be even more dramatic in areas where basic environmental infrastructures are disrupted or have been destroyed.

Countries facing complex emergencies are particularly vulnerable to cholera outbreaks. Massive displacement of internally displaced people (IDPs) or refugees to overcrowded settings, where the provision of potable water and sanitation is challenging, constitutes also a risk factor.

In consequence, it is of paramount importance to be able to rely on accurate surveillance data to monitor the evolution of the outbreak and to put in place adequate intervention measures. Coordination of the different sectors involved is essential, and WHO calls for the cooperation of all to limit the effect of cholera on populations.