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UF researchers suggest cholera vaccination strategies for Zimbabwe
Date:6/2/2011

the country's 10 provinces.

One practice that stood out was funeral feasts, which are common in Zimbabwe and other African countries. At these feasts, people often eat in a communal fashion, and it is also customary to shake hands with the bereaved, who may have been infected as they cared for the deceased under unsanitary conditions. The bodies are often transported from towns and cities for burial in the rural areas.

"Cholera transmission through these types of direct contacts among people accounted for much of the observed illness," said Dr. J. Glenn Morris Jr., director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute and an author of the paper. "There were also striking differences in transmission patterns from province to province, reflecting differences in environment, socio-economic conditions, and cultural practices."

The country's economic meltdown during the study period likely contributed to cholera outbreaks. As the public health system and infrastructure collapsed, burst sewers and unprotected wells lead to contaminated drinking water. In addition, the economic crisis made life-saving oral rehydration medication financially unaffordable for many Zimbabweans afflicted by cholera.

The differences observed among provinces suggest that approaches to disease control should be tailored to specific regional characteristics. For example, different areas may require different rates of vaccination to control the disease, potentially resulting in cost savings in less severely affected regions.


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Contact: J. Glenn Morris, Jr.
jgmorris@epi.ufl.edu
352-273-7526
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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