New cases of cholera in your community? let's talk seasonal cyclicity of diseases


By Abanobi Nkachukwu .N

Cholera identification can be traced as far back as John Snow’s 1854 work on cholera epidemiological mapping, of the broad street pump water source in London.

Caused by bacteria vibrio cholerae, this infection is a prominent water borne, fecal oral transmissible disease with an incubation period of 12 hours to 5 days, a high infectivity and infectiousness with cases seen in poor water and hygienic practices, moderate to extreme weather events, socio economic crises, high population density combined with poor quality housing areas.

Burden of Cholera

Cholera remains a global public health threat, with 1.3 million to 4.0 million cases, 21,000 and 143,000 deaths worldwide every year (African Center for Disease Control, nd). Areas at risk include peri-urban slums, displacement and refugee camps in endemic countries, leading to limitations in surveillance systems as a reason for under-reporting of case (World health organization, 2021).

Seasonal Cyclicity And Cholera Outbreak Prevention

This refers to seasonal fluctuations of diseases (by months or parts of the year) occurrence in a population (Abanobi, 2010). Although not the sole determinant, seasonal variation in infectious disease transmission plays an important role in determining when epidemics happen (Martinez, 2018).

Risk assessments and intervention programs of most seasonally identified diseases and epidemic-prone diseases like cholera may include:

  • Promoting access to basic hygiene facilities among at risk communities.
  • Community synthesis and outbreak prediction
  • Development of a response plan
  • Policy development and resource allocation
  • Identifying and isolating the source
  • Targeted education on improvement of hygienic behaviour
  • Mapping of at-risk individuals and conducting mass vaccination.

Let’s all remember to practice optimum environmental, personal hygiene and infection control measures against cholera transmission !

What other measures do you think can be deployed for seasonal disease prevention in Africa?