In DepthInfectious Disease

Use of cholera vaccines expands, raising hopes

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 620-621
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6376.620

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This could be a pivotal year in the fight against cholera, public health experts say. The disease has taken a large toll in the last months: In war-torn Yemen the number of cases reached more than a million; outbreaks ravaged South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and other African countries; and Haiti continues to suffer from the disease. But an emergency vaccine stockpile established in 2013 has grown rapidly and a new, easier-to-use formulation has hit the market, making large-scale campaigns feasible. Soon, 2.4 million doses are to be shipped to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where another epidemic looms. With interventions like this, experts hope to make a dent in the global burden of cholera, estimated at 3 million cases a year. And Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is funding the stockpile, is set to decide later this year whether it will start funding routine immunizations in endemic areas as well.