Volume 98, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Cholera outbreaks in Africa have been attributed to both droughts and floods, but whether the risk of a cholera outbreak is elevated during droughts is unknown. We estimated the risk of cholera outbreaks during droughts and floods compared with drought- and flood-free periods in 40 sub-Saharan African countries during 1990–2010 based on data from Emergency Events Database: the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance /Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters International Disaster Database (www.emdat.be). A cholera outbreak was registered in one of every three droughts and one of every 15 floods. We observed an increased incidence rate of cholera outbreaks during drought periods (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.9–7.2) and during flood periods (IRR = 144, 95% CI = 101–208) when compared with drought/flood-free periods. Floods are more strongly associated with cholera outbreaks, yet the prevalence of cholera outbreaks is higher during droughts because of droughts’ long durations. The results suggest that droughts in addition to floods call for increased cholera preparedness.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 06 Oct 2017
  • Accepted : 20 Jan 2018
  • Published online : 05 Mar 2018

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