The planet is now witnessing a “worrying upsurge” in cholera outbreaks, the World Health Organisation warned on Friday.
In the first nine months of this year alone, 26 countries have reported cholera outbreaks, the WHO said, adding that between 2017 and 2021, fewer than 20 nations reported outbreaks per year.
“After years of declining numbers, we are seeing a worrying upsurge of cholera outbreaks around the globe over the past year,” Philippe Barboza, the WHO’s team lead on cholera and epidemic diarrheal diseases, told reporters in Geneva.
“Not only do we have more outbreaks, but the outbreaks themselves are larger and more deadly.”
He said there simply was not enough vaccine to respond to outbreaks and also implement preventative vaccination campaigns.
The expert said the main issue was that there was only one manufacturer producing cholera vaccines, with companies unwilling to become involved if they had to shoulder all the production costs themselves.
“We need to find ways to engage more manufacturers,” said Barboza.
Although cholera can kill within hours, it can be treated with simple oral rehydration, and antibiotics for more severe cases.
But many people lack timely access to such treatment.