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Cholera Surge Sparks Urgent Vaccine Shortage Concerns

Representation for Cholera infection | Credits: iStock

United States: Amidst the escalating tide of cholera and the dearth of vaccines, experts issue a global alarm.

Cholera, a bacillary bully normally passed on through infected foodstuff and water, not only leads to severe gastric distress but vulnerability to fluid loss as well. Coinciding with this increase in the number of cases since 2021, its impact has been steadily growing. 

WHO claims that statistical data shows 1-1. 5 million global cases yearly. Cholera is considered one of the most infectious and deadliest diseases in the world, with as many as 3 to 4 million disease cases across the globe annually.  As reported by different popular media outlets, the numbers of casualties are estimated to be 21,000 to 143,000 deaths out of the 3 to 4 million individuals. 

WHO’s 2022 surveillance report noted the number of cases being almost double than in the previous year, at 473,000. The projected rise in cases to the level of 700,000 by 2023 shows evidently the acceleration of the spread of the virus. 

In the interview that DrRenuga Vivekanandan, MD, assistant dean and professor at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska conducted, she expressed her apprehension at the growing cholera cases largely in Asia, Africa and Latin-America. 

As reported by UNICEF, the countries that face extreme deficits in prenatal care include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. 

Cholera enthralls vividly wherein water and sanitation infrastructure is insufficient because of systemic and structural human circumstances. 

In the nineteenth century in the US, cholera was eradicated due to the build-up of water treatment systems installed coupled with the CDC. 

The illness may even keep occurring around the bayous of Louisiana, commonly associated with the major source of Gulf oysters in this country.

“In the US, occurrences remain marginal and primarily stem from travel-related exposure,” Vivekanandan remarked.

It is the ascent of cholera whose cases are surging due to varied transmission channels, including the fecal-oral route through contaminated water and food resources, and also because of poor sanitation and water treatment facilities. 

Visual Representation for test against Cholera | Credits: iStock

Only in patients severely infected can cholera be transmitted from person to person. 

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund shared the point that water delivery is disrupted which leads heavy cholera load. 

Dr Vivekanandan spearheads the research that suspect the intense of outbreaks for the cause of climate change, forced eviction, and inefficient sanitation installations. 

The incidence of cholera is approximately 10 percent.  Among those who are affected, several symptoms are profound watery diarrhea, emesis, and cramping, which are usually evident in their musculoskeletal region. 

More and more serious stages lead to the manifestation of shock and dehydration, which, similarly to other emergency cases, affect the organism in such a way that without treatment, they turn out to be fatal. 

Dr Vivekanandan underscores the paramount importance of rehydration in cholera management, especially for severe cases necessitating antibiotic therapy.

Certain demographics exhibit heightened susceptibility to cholera, including individuals with achlorhydria, blood type O, chronic comorbidities, and those lacking access to prompt rehydration therapy and medical intervention, according to reports by Fox News. 

The cornerstone of cholera treatment hinges on replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes expediently, typically via oral rehydration therapy comprising a sugar-salt solution diluted in water. Intravenous fluid administration may be warranted in severe presentations.

Adjunctive antibiotic therapy may mitigate symptom severity in select cases.

The CDC urges prompt medical consultation for individuals experiencing profuse diarrhea and emesis in cholera-endemic regions.

Vaxchora, a single-dose cholera vaccine, is recommended for people ranging from two years to those aged 64 years who are traveling to countries with cholera that is ongoing. 

The US is ahead of other countries in the production of cholera vaccines, but these are not either affordable or accessible to the US populace. 

UNICEF has been recognizing recently that the rates at which neonatal death and under-five child mortality have actually worsened considerably, even while the rest of the world is making great strides towards improved child survival. 

As a response to the shortage, the International Coordinating Group (ICG), which, in October 2022, upgraded to single dose vaccination. 

It is Dr. Vivekanandan who calls the prescription of a vaccine deficit, and he thinks the best solution is the rising fund’s expense and cooperation with drug companies for mass production. 

He accordingly urges the tourists to visit CDC’s website and obtain travel inoculations against common diseases while planning travel outside the country. 

Visual Representation | Credits: iStock

Moreover, he advised travelers to be careful not to underestimate the importance of prudent travel practices such as drinking purified water, avoiding raw or improperly cooked foods, and washing their hands frequently. 

Echoing the WHO’s stance, Dr Vivekanandan emphasizes the imperative of multifaceted interventions encompassing surveillance, water sanitation, hygiene promotion, treatment modalities, and accessible cholera vaccines for high-risk communities, as Fox News outlined. 

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Vaxchora shortages have been resolved following Emergent Travel Health’s suspension of distribution in response to diminished international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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