International Events

Update of Epidemiological Situation of Cholera Globally

December 16th, 2022

Current Outbreak Status:
  • ​​Since 2021, there has been an increase in cholera cases and its geographic distribution worldwide. 23 countries reported cholera outbreaks, mainly in WHO regions of Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. The number of countries continued to increase until 2022, reaching more than 29 countries.
  • As of November 30th, 2022, 16 of these countries have declared an ongoing outbreak.
  • Many of these countries have reported higher numbers of cases and deaths compared to previous years. The global average death rate from cholera was 1.9%, in Africa 2.9%, above the accepted level which is less than 1% representing the highest recorded in more than a decade.
  • Of particular concern in 2021 are cholera outbreaks in 13 previously unreported countries, many of which are not endemic countries. The current situation represents re-emergence of the seventh ongoing cholera pandemic that began in 1961 to 1974.

The number of cholera cases increased by continent in the past three decades

Main challenges in controlling the current cholera outbreaks:
  1. Poor sanitation and low level of water cleanliness.
  2. Climate change, glacial melting, and spread of floods or droughts.
  3. Wars, humanitarian crises and political instability.
  4. ​Multiple ongoing health emergencies such as monkeypox and COVID-19.
  5. Delayed epidemiological surveillance is suboptimal.
  6. Lack of necessary medical resources and care, including the two preventive oral cholera doses.
Public health response:
World Health Organization, in cooperation with its partners, has developed a response plan that includes the following:
  • ​Coordination and cooperation between countries regarding exchange of data and strengthening their capacities to prevent and control cholera.
  • Intensifying active surveillance and detecting cases in high-risk areas and hotspots, such as random settlements.
  • Providing vaccination according to the response mechanism of the International Coordination Group (ICG).
  • Strengthening health care for cases and improving access to treatment for patients by establishing dedicated health care facilities and cholera treatment units, training health workers and providing the necessary technical guidance.
  • Strengthening infection prevention and control work and providing necessary preventive support resources at the national, regional and global levels.
  • Work closely with affected countries to strengthen water, hygiene and sanitation systems.
Risk Assessment:
  • ​The global burden of cholera is currently largely unknown because many cases go unreported, however WHO estimates that the number could reach 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths annually.
  • On October 26th, 2022, World Health Organization assessed the global risk of cholera as very high and remains a global public health threat.​


For additional information on symptoms of the disease and modes of transmission:
Last Update : 30 January 2023 08:48 AM
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