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Increasing Oral Cholera Vaccine Supply, Improved Strategies For Use Will Help Reduce Disease’s Incidence

Global Health NOW: Shrinking the Cholera Map
David A. Sack, professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…[Oral cholera vaccine (OCV)] is an essential component of cholera prevention and control … But OCV’s limited availability has curtailed its usefulness. … So it was great news in January when the WHO announced the addition of a new manufacturer with enough doses to boost the number available to six million a year … The increased supply will greatly improve the ability to effectively respond to cholera outbreaks. … We … know that cholera control is best when OCV is integrated with improvements in water and sanitation, but researchers still need to develop the exact ways in which these interventions should be integrated for best effect. We need to challenge ourselves to consider how to improve the vaccine and improve strategies for its use. … I’m incredibly optimistic about the direction cholera control is taking. While we cannot add cholera to the list of eradicable diseases, it is certainly one that can be significantly reduced to a level where it is no longer a major public health problem as it is today” (11/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.