Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection that can kill within hours, if left untreated. Cholera remains a global public health threat, causing between 1.3 million to 4.0 million cases, and 21,000 and 143,000 deaths worldwide every year. It is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Symptoms appear 12 hours to five days after ingesting contaminated food or water, and it can kill within hours if untreated. The signs and symptoms include rice water stools, fishy odour stools, vomiting, rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity, dry mouth, low blood pressure, dehydration, muscle cramps, restlessness or irritations especially in children, sleepiness or tiredness. However, some infected people may not show any symptoms.

Prevention and control can be achieved by consuming clean water and food, and by providing proper hygiene conditions and access to basic services. Adopting basic hygienic behaviours such as regular handwashing with soap after defecation and before handling food or eating, and safe preparation and conservation of food are essential. Vaccination with Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) has proved effective in cholera control. The primary treatment for cholera is the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS) and the use of antibiotics.

Recent Outbreaks in Africa

Year Countries Cases Deaths NB
2019 Ethiopia 525 16 The outbreak is happening in four regions; Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, and Addis Ababa.
2018 Cameroon 237 17  
Tanzania 33,421 542  
Angola 954 19  
Algeria 161 2  
Mozambique 1799 1  
DRC 1065 43  
Somalia 1613 9  
2017 Kenya 3,967 76  
Zambia 547 15  
2015 DRC 19,705    
2014 South Sudan 586 22  
2012 Sierra Leone 20,736 280  
2011 DRC 3,896 265  
Republic of Congo 181 6  
2010 Cameroon 7,869 515  
Chad 2,508 111  
Niger 976 62  
Nigeria 29,115 1,191  
2009 Zimbabwe 98,424 4,276  
2008 Guinea-Bissau 7,166 133