How El Niño forecasts can help prevent cholera deaths in Africa. The Conversation, May 14, 2017.
Pit latrine in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Access to clean water and sanitation are key to preventing cholera epidemics. D. Schafer, SuSanA/Flickr, CC
Since it first emerged from the Ganges River delta 200 years ago, cholera has killed tens of millions of people around the world. It causes acute diarrhea that can kill quickly without proper treatment. Before the 1970s it was not unusual for healthy adults to die of dehydration within days of infection, despite drinking large amounts of water.
By some estimates, over a billion people worldwide live in areas where there is risk of cholera, and hundreds of thousands die every year. But when people have access to clean water, appropriate treatment or vaccine, the risk of cholera is greatly reduced. With well-trained medical staff and supplies, appropriate and timely treatment of cholera patients can ensure that almost no one dies.
In a recent study, our group sought to understand how weather changes caused by El Niño impact cholera risk in Africa, where most cholera deaths occur. El Niño events can now be forecast as much as a year in advance, so knowing this relationship may help forecast where cholera outbreaks are most likely to occur.
Read the complete article.
May 9 – Yemen war: Surge in cholera outbreak kills 34 – WHO – The World Health Organisation says 2,022 suspected cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) were reported between 27 April and 7 May.
May 9 – IOM Responds as Cholera Outbreak Spreads in South Sudan – Relief agencies are responding to cholera outbreaks across the country, with nine counties currently reporting active transmission, including three in Jonglei alone.
May 9 – Haiti sees decrease in suspected cholera cases – (PAHO) says the number of suspected cholera cases reported in this French-speaking Caribbean country, up to April 8, 2017, has decreased when compared to the same periods in 2015 and 2016.In its latest report, PAHO says to date 4,871 suspected cholera cases have been reported in Haiti, including 69 deaths. This represents a 60 and 61 per cent decrease compared to the 12,373 and 12,226 suspected cholera cases reported during the same period in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
May 5 – As rainy season starts, UN health agency warns of cholera outbreak in drought-hit Somalia – Somalia is suffering from the largest cholera outbreak in the past five years and the number of people killed is expected to double by the end of June, the United Nations health agency. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported close to 32,000 cases of cholera, including 618 deaths, since the beginning of the year.
May 6 – Nagpur – After 4 years, cholera makes a comeback – After a lull of four years, cholera, the deadliest of all water borne diseases has raised its ugly head again. About 31 positive cases of cholera have been recorded between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.
May 1 – Ghana – Health Service reminds regional directors to be alert for cholera outbreak – The Ghana Health Service has reminded of its cholera alert to all regional health directors and warned of the risk of an outbreak in 2017, has increased by the onset of the rains and potential flooding in some communities.
A Photographer’s Journey Into Haiti’s Cholera Crisis. National Geographic, December 13, 2016.
After Hurricane Matthew hit, a silent killer struck the fragile country—again
The same rains that were spreading cholera across southern Haiti were blocking Andrea Bruce from getting to the story.
The Elise Adventure Morija Church was completely swept away during Hurricane Matthew. Residents still hold services under a tent on the church’s foundation.
The National Geographic photographer had arrived a few weeks after Hurricane Matthew struck the island in October to document a new surge of cholera cases spreading across some of the country’s most remote areas.
When Bruce reached the mountainous epicenter of the cholera crisis, a town called Rendel, she found crumbled homes, some with just a door frame or a single piece of furniture left standing. Residents were scrapping together small shacks from the rubble.
Read the complete article.
U.N. Admits Role In Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Has Killed Thousands | Source: NPR, Aug 18 2016 |
In the fall of 2010, months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, a new disaster began: a cholera outbreak that killed thousands of people and continues to sicken people across the country.
Cholera patients are treated at the Cholera Treatment Center in the Carrefour area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in December 2014. The Caribbean country’s cholera outbreak started in 2010. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Experts determined that the source of the disease was a U.N. peacekeeping camp. And now, nearly six years later, the United Nations has admitted it played some role in the deadly outbreak.
At a briefing Thursday, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said that over the course of the past year, “the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.”
He said the U.N. would announce new actions to address the issue within the next two months.
“Our legal position on this issue has not changed,” Haq said, adding that the U.N. was not describing any of its actions as “reparations.”
Read the complete article.
A Surprise Inoculation Against Cholera, 2016. WASHplus.
Communities that embraced the WASHplus and Kenya Ministry of Health community-led total sanitation-plus approach appear to have protected themselves against cholera during a recent epidemic.
Using cellphone data to study the spread of cholera | Source: Phys.org, May 23 2016 |
While cholera has hardly changed over the past centuries, the tools used to study it have not ceased to evolve. Using mobile phone records of 150,000 users, an EPFL-led study has shown to what extent human mobility patterns contributed to the spread of a cholera epidemic in Senegal in 2005.
Scanning electron microscope image of V. cholerae. Credit: public domain
The researchers’ findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlight the critical role a mass gathering of millions of pilgrims played in spreading of the disease, and how measures to improve sanitation at transmission hotspots could decrease the progression of future outbreaks.
“There is a lot of hype around using big data from mobile phones to study epidemiology,” says senior author Enrico Bertuzzo, from the Ecohydrology Laboratory at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. This is largely due to the fact that mobile phone data can be used to reconstruct, with unprecedented detail, mobility fluxes of an entire population. “But I dare say that this is the first time that such data are exploited to their full potential in an epidemiological model.”
Cholera is an infectious disease that occurs primarily in developing countries with poor sanitation infrastructure. It spreads primarily via water that has been contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, present in the feces of infected people. Human mobility and waterways both contribute to spreading the disease among human communities, whereas heavy precipitation events increase the chances of the bacteria to contaminate drinking water sources. Researchers at EPFL have developed a mathematical simulation model that accounts for these factors, which they tested on past outbreaks such as the one in Haiti in 2010.
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Published on Dec 5, 2015
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John Snow’s report on the causes of cholera provided yet more evidence of the dangers of filthy cities. Cities had always been unhealthy places to live, generally with a higher death rate than birth rate, but fixing them just wasn’t the focus of an agricultural world economy. The Industrial Revolution in the 1700s brought more people to the cities, and suddenly, cities had to grow in order to maintain the vastly expanded manufacturing and shipping operations of the new era.
Edwin Chadwick published a report about the sewage in city streets and clearly explaining the need to remove it. His report led to legislation that created local health boards and drove the construction of complex sewer systems. These sewers were massive, expensive undertakings that, even today, remain the foundation of many large modern cities. They reduced diseases across the board and saved countless human lives, part of a legacy that John Snow would be proud of.
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