Assessment of Risk of Cholera in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew

Rakib Khan Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia;

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Rifat Anwar Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia;

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Shafqat Akanda Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island;

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Michael D. McDonald Global Health Response and Resilience Alliance, Washington, District of Columbia; Health Initiatives Foundation, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia;

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Anwar Huq Maryland Pathogen Research Institute, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland;

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Antarpreet Jutla Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia;

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Rita Colwell Maryland Pathogen Research Institute, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland;
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland;
Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

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Damage to the inferior and fragile water and sanitation infrastructure of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew has created an urgent public health emergency in terms of likelihood of cholera occurring in the human population. Using satellite-derived data on precipitation, gridded air temperature, and hurricane path and with information on water and sanitation (WASH) infrastructure, we tracked changing environmental conditions conducive for growth of pathogenic vibrios. Based on these data, we predicted and validated the likelihood of cholera cases occurring past hurricane. The risk of cholera in the southwestern part of Haiti remained relatively high since November 2016 to the present. Findings of this study provide a contemporary process for monitoring ground conditions that can guide public health intervention to control cholera in human population by providing access to vaccines, safe WASH facilities. Assuming current social and behavioral patterns remain constant, it is recommended that WASH infrastructure should be improved and considered a priority especially before 2017 rainy season.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Antarpreet Jutla, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506. E-mail: asjutla@mail.wvu.edu

Authors’ addresses: Rakib Khan, Rifat Anwar, and Antarpreet Jutla, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University, WV, E-mails: mnkhan@mix.wvu.edu, ra0009@mix.wvu.edu, and asjutla@mail.wvu.edu. Shafqat Akanda, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, E-mail: akanda@egr.uri.edu. Michael D. McDonald, Global Health Response and Resilience Alliance, Washington, DC, E-mail: michael.d.mcdonald@mac.com. Anwar Huq and Rita Colwell, Department of Microbiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, E-mails: huq@umd.edu and rcolwell@umiacs.umd.

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