Exploring Droughts and Floods and Their Association with Cholera Outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Register-Based Ecological Study from 1990 to 2010

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An increased risk for cholera was witnessed during both droughts and floods in sub-Saharan Africa; these findings call for increased preparedness and surveillance during droughts in addition to floods. Cholera outbreaks in Africa have been attributed to both droughts and floods, but whether the risk of a cholera outbreak is elevated during droughts is unknown. We estimated the risk of cholera outbreaks during droughts and floods compared with drought- and flood-free periods in 40 sub-Saharan African countries during 1990–2010 based on data from EM-DAT: the OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database (www.emdat.be). A cholera outbreak was registered in one of every three droughts and one of every 15 floods. We observed an increased incidence rate of cholera outbreaks during drought periods (IRR = 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.9–7.2) and during flood periods (IRR = 144, 95% CI = 101–208) when compared with drought/flood-free periods. Floods are more strongly associated with cholera outbreaks, yet the prevalence of cholera outbreaks is higher during droughts because of droughts’ long durations. The results suggest that droughts in addition to floods call for increased cholera preparedness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1269-1274
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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ID: 191927069