Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae O1 or O139. It is a global threat to public health and a key indicator of lack of social development.

Recently, the re-emergence of cholera has been noted in parallel with the ever-increasing size of vulnerable populations living in unsanitary conditions.

There are between 21 000 to 143 000 deaths due to cholera every year. Of all deaths caused by cholera, only a small proportion are reported to WHO. While 129 000 to 589 900 cases of cholera have been reported annually to WHO over the past 5 years, it is estimated that between 1.3 and 4.0 million cholera cases occur every year.1

Up to 80% of cases can be successfully treated with oral rehydration solution (ORS. However, very severely dehydrated patients require administration of intravenous fluids. These patients also receive appropriate antibiotics to diminish the duration of diarrhoea, reduce the volume of rehydration fluids needed, and shorten the duration of V. cholerae excretion.

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