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Cholera in India during the 2010s

According to Muzembo and colleagues (2022)[1], there were a total of 565 cholera outbreaks recorded in India between 2011 and 2020. These outbreaks resulted in 45,759 reported cases and 263 attributed deaths. Most of the cholera outbreaks occurred during the monsoon season, and the rate of cholera infection varied substantially by region (see map below). The main drivers of cholera were contaminated drinking water and food, inadequate sanitation and hygiene (including open defecation), and direct contact between households. The study also found that damaged water pipelines were responsible for fewer outbreaks between 2016 and 2020 compared to the previous period. It is crucial to address the issues of open defecation, sanitation, and clean water access, and interrupt cholera transmission during outbreaks. Socio-economic development is the only long-term solution to cholera outbreaks associated with deprivation.

Cholera outbreaks in India 2011-2020 - Muzembo et al 2022

Avoiding cholera

Cholera is mainly spread through fecal contamination in food and water. Many diseases are spread in this way including typhoid. Proper sanitation, water purification and related approaches can help stop its spread. There is a cholera vaccine available in the U.S. for international travelers. The cholera vaccine was temporarily unavailable in the U.S. during and following the covid-19 pandemic for a few years but it has once again become available. The cholera vaccine is generally recommended for travel to areas where there is a current, ongoing outbreak.

What happens when someone gets cholera?

When someone gets infected with cholera, they may experience a range of symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. The diarrhea is usually watery and may be accompanied by cramps or abdominal pain. In severe cases, the diarrhea can lead to rapid dehydration, which can be life-threatening.

Cholera can be treated with oral rehydration therapy, which involves drinking fluids that contain a balanced amount of salt and sugar. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms.


1. Muzembo, B.A.; Kitahara, K.; Debnath, A.; Ohno, A.; Okamoto, K.; Miyoshi, S.-I. Cholera Outbreaks in India, 2011–2020: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5738.

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