Cholera Incidence and Mortality in Sub-Saharan African Sites during Multi-Country Surveillance

Publication Date
May 2016

Sauvageot D, Njanpop-Lafourcade BM, Akilimali L, Anne JC, Bidjada P, Bompangue D, Bwire G, Coulibaly D, Dengo-Baloi L, Dosso M, Orach CG, Inguane D, Kagirita A, Kacou-N'Douba A, Keita S, Kere Banla A, Kouame YJ, Landoh DE, Langa JP, Makumbi I, Miwanda B, Malimbo M, Mutombo G, Mutombo A, NGuetta EN, Saliou M, Sarr V, Senga RK, Sory F, Sema C, Tante OV, Gessner BD, Mengel MA.

Journal Reference
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 May 17;10(5):e0004679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004679. eCollection 2016.


Full text


Cholera burden in Africa remains unknown, often because of weak national surveillance systems. We analyzed data from the African Cholera Surveillance Network.


During June 2011-December 2013, we conducted enhanced surveillance in seven zones and four outbreak sites in Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique and Côte d'Ivoire. All health facilities treating cholera cases were included. Cholera incidences were calculated using culture-confirmed cholera cases and culture-confirmed cholera cases corrected for lack of culture testing usually due to overwhelmed health systems and imperfect test sensitivity. Of 13,377 reported suspected cases, 34% occurred in Conakry, Guinea, 47% in Goma, DRC, and 19% in the remaining sites. From 0-40% of suspected cases were aged under five years and from 0.3-86% had rice water stools. Within surveillance zones, 0-37% of suspected cases had confirmed cholera compared to 27-38% during outbreaks. Annual confirmed incidence per 10,000 population was <0.5 in surveillance zones, except Goma where it was 4.6. Goma and Conakry had corrected incidences of 20.2 and 5.8 respectively, while the other zones a median of 0.3. During outbreaks, corrected incidence varied from 2.6 to 13.0. Case fatality ratios ranged from 0-10% (median, 1%) by country.


Across different African epidemiological contexts, substantial variation occurred in cholera incidence, age distribution, clinical presentation, culture confirmation, and testing frequency. These results can help guide preventive activities, including vaccine use.