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Multi-country outbreak of cholera

he persistence of cholera is evident as 2024 begins, with 40 900 cases and 775 deaths reported in January alone from 17 countries across four regions: the African Region, the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the Region of the Americas, and the South-East Asia Region.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have experienced the highest surges, underscoring the ongoing challenge of controlling cholera and the importance of sustained public health efforts. In 2023, cases were reported in 30 countries across five WHO regions, including nine countries that recorded more than 10 000 cases.

The global cholera response continues to be affected by a critical shortage of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV). From January 2023 to January 2024, urgent requests for OCV surged, with 76 million OCV doses requested by 14 countries while only 38 million doses were available during that time period. The global stockpile of vaccines is awaiting replenishment and all production up to 8 March will be allocated to requests already approved.

WHO classified the global resurgence of cholera as a grade 3 emergency in January 2023, its highest internal level for emergencies. Based on the number of outbreaks and their geographic expansion, alongside the shortage of vaccines and other resources, WHO continues to assess the risk at global level as very high and the event remains classified as a grade 3 emergency.

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