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Experts urge US to create emergency cholera vaccine stockpile for humanitarian use
Date:11/24/2010

to stabilize the country."

Cholera is a severe and often rapidly fatal diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It can be fatal because the pathogen elicits secretion of large quantities of bacteria-laden fluid from the intestine, resulting in extreme dehydration. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral route and if the drinking water or food supply becomes contaminated with V. cholerae, the disease can spread through a population very rapidly.

It is estimated that the annual global burden of cholera is 3 million to 5 million cases and 100,000 to 130,000 deaths. There is no evidence of a global decline despite major efforts to ensure the provision of clean water and adequate sanitation. Cholera is endemic in many parts of South Asia, and can cause epidemics both in areas where it is endemic and in those where it is not, often as a result of man-made or natural disasters. Last year there were reportedly 4,000 deaths during a protracted epidemic in Zimbabwe, and more than 1,400 people have died in refugee camps in the ongoing outbreaks in Haiti. A recent analysis of the global burden of cholera conducted by the IVI, an international organization dedicated to new vaccines for the world's poor, estimates that approximately 1.5 billion people are at risk for cholera globally.

Treatment of cholera involves replacement of lost fluid with oral or intravenous rehydration solution and antibiotics, which can be lifesaving and can shorten duration of illness. However, these interventions can be difficult to administer when there are inadequate medical facilities, as is often the case in complex humanitarian emergencies. In addition, rapid progression of the disease means that there is only a narrow therapeutic window, making effective treatment a challenge.

Fortunately, three oral cholera vaccines are available. Dukoral produced by Crucell of Sweden consists of killed V. cholerae cells and recombinant cholera toxin B.
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Contact: Tae Kyung Byun
tkbyun@ivi.int
822-881-1159
International Vaccine Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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