Cholera vaccine could protect affected communities

Nov 27, 2007

A vaccine used to protect travelers from cholera, an infection characterized by diarrhea and severe dehydration, could also be used effectively among those living in cholera-prone (endemic) areas, according to a research study by Ira Longini and colleagues published in PLoS Medicine. The study lends support to the idea that public-health officials should consider mass vaccination in their efforts to control endemic cholera.

Using a mathematical model for cholera transmission based on information from the Matlab region of Bangladesh, the researchers predicted that cholera outbreaks could be controlled by vaccinating as few as half of the population in an affected region.

Because of “herd immunity” – protection of unvaccinated individuals due to the inability of cholera bacteria (Vibrio cholerae) to reach them via their vaccinated neighbors – the model indicated that vaccinating only 50% of the population could reduce the number of cholera cases among unvaccinated people by 89% and among the entire population by 93%. With only a third of the population vaccinated, the number of cases of cholera would still be predicted to fall by three-quarters.

In areas where there is less natural immunity to cholera—many people in Matlab are constantly exposed to V. cholerae, so they develop some immunity even without vaccination—70% of the population would probably need to be vaccinated to control cholera, according to the model.

The best way to prevent cholera, which is believed to cause about 100,000 deaths per year in developing countries, is to ensure that everyone has access to safe water and good sanitation, but these remain unavailable in many countries, and in situations of population displacement such as refugee camps and disasters such as floods.

Citation: Longini IM, Nizam A, Ali M, Yunus M, Shenvi N (2007) Controlling endemic cholera with oral vaccines. PLoS Med 4(11): e336.
medicine.plosjournals.org/perl… journal.pmed.0040336

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Discount generic drug programs grow over time

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Institute develops cheap cholera vaccine

Apr 20, 2009

An international health organisation said Monday it has developed the world's first cheap cholera vaccine which has been licensed in India, paving the way for its global use.

'Deadly dozen' reports diseases worsened by climate change

Oct 07, 2008

Health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society today released a report that lists 12 pathogens that could spread into new regions as a result of climate change, with potential impacts to both human and wildlife health ...

Recommended for you

Discount generic drug programs grow over time

13 hours ago

Generic discount drug programs (GDDPs, which charge nominal fees to fill prescriptions) have grown over time and their initial lower use by racial/ethnic minorities has evaporated, writes author Song Hee Hong, Ph.D., of the ...

Seniors successfully withdraw from meds

Sep 19, 2014

Elderly people have proved receptive to being de-prescribed medications, as part of a trial aimed at assessing the feasibility of withdrawal of medications among older people.

User comments : 0