Cholera Outbreaks Continue Without Ample Vaccine Supply
As September 2023 comes to a close, twenty-four countries are currently reporting active outbreaks. New data show over 472,000 cholera cases were reported in 2022, an increase of 47% in one year.
While cholera is a vaccine-preventable, severe disease, there is a global shortage of oral cholera vaccines (OCV), which, according to reports, may continue for years.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three WHO pre-qualified OCVs are Dukoral®, Shanchol™, and Euvichol®.
Since the start of 2023, about 50 million OCV doses have been requested, of which 19.3 million (40%) were approved for 11 countries, according to the WHO.
The OCV worldwide supply in 2022 was 36 million doses.
The International Coordinating Group was created in 1997 to manage the global stockpile of OCVs. The current production roadmap forecasts that OCV supply could meet global demand by 2026.
However, there are vaccination success stories in 2023.
For example, the Republic of Kenya surpassed its target of vaccinating 1.59 million people with OCVs in early August 2023.
GAVI recently reported the campaign is in response to a Kenyan cholera outbreak that began in October 2022 and has resulted in 11,872 cases and 196 deaths across the country.
"The case fatality rate of the cholera outbreak stands at 1.7%, underscoring the severity of the situation," said Health Ministry's Disease Surveillance and Response Unit Dr Emmanuel Okunga.
"The WHO is calling for access to adequate life-saving treatment to maintain case fatality rates below 1%, which is achievable when appropriate interventions are deployed."
The U.S. CDC recommends vaccination for people traveling to or living in areas of active cholera transmission. Check the CDC's Travel Health Notices website to identify areas with active cholera transmission.