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Recurrent epidemic cholera with high mortality in Cameroon: persistent challenges 40 years into the seventh pandemic

  • E. J. CARTWRIGHT (a1) (a2), M. K. PATEL (a1) (a2), F. X. MBOPI-KEOU (a3) (a4), T. AYERS (a2), B. HAENKE (a5), B. H. WAGENAAR (a5), E. MINTZ (a2) and R. QUICK (a2)...

Cameroon has experienced recurrent cholera epidemics with high mortality rates. In September 2009, epidemic cholera was detected in the Far North region of Cameroon and the reported case-fatality rate was 12%. We conducted village-, healthcare facility- and community-level surveys to investigate reasons for excess cholera mortality. Results of this investigation suggest that cholera patients who died were less likely to seek care, receive rehydration therapy and antibiotics at a healthcare facility, and tended to live further from healthcare facilities. Furthermore, use of oral rehydration salts at home was very low in both decedents and survivors. Despite the many challenges inherent to delivering care in Cameroon, practical measures could be taken to reduce cholera mortality in this region, including the timely provision of treatment supplies, training of healthcare workers, establishment of rehydration centres, and promotion of household water treatment and enhanced handwashing with soap.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: E. J. Cartwright, M.D., Emory University Division of Infectious Diseases, 49 Jesse Hill Dr., Atlanta, GA 30303, USA. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
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