In October 2010, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP; Port au Prince, Haiti) reported a cholera epidemic caused by contamination of the Artibonite River by a United Nation Stabilization Mission camp. Interventional studies of the subsequent responses, including a descriptive Methods section and systematic approach, may be useful in facilitating comparisons and applying lessons learned to future outbreaks. The purpose of this study was to examine publicly available documents relating to the 2010 cholera outbreak to answer: (1) What information is publicly available on interventional studies conducted during the epidemic, and what was/were the impact(s)? and (2) Can the interventions be compared, and what lessons can be learned from their comparison?
A PubMed (National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland USA) search was conducted using the parameters “Haiti” and “cholera.” Studies were categorized as “interventional research,” “epidemiological research,” or “other.” A distinction was made between studies and narrative reports. The PubMed search yielded 171 papers, 59 (34.0%) of which were epidemiological and 12 (7.0%) were interventional studies. The remaining 100 papers (59.0%) comprised largely of narrative, anecdotal descriptions. An expanded examination of publications by the World Health Organization (WHO; Geneva, Switzerland), the Center for Research in the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED; Brussels, Belgium), United States Agency for International Development (USAID; Washington, DC USA)-Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC), and US National Library of Medicine’s (NLM; Bethesda, Maryland USA) Disaster Literature databases yielded no additional interventional studies. The unstructured formats and differing levels of detail prohibited comparisons between interventions, even between those with a similar approach. Only two (17.0%) interventional studies included any impact data, although neither commented whether the intervention improved health or reduced incidence or mortality related to cholera. Agreed frameworks for guiding responses and subsequent reporting are needed to ensure reports contain sufficient detail to draw conclusions for the definition of best practices and for the design of future interventions.
. Characterization of Interventional Studies of the Cholera Epidemic in Haiti. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(2):176–181.