Identification of burden hotspots and risk factors for cholera in India: An observational study

PLoS One. 2017 Aug 24;12(8):e0183100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183100. eCollection 2017.


Background: Even though cholera has existed for centuries and many parts of the country have sporadic, endemic and epidemic cholera, it is still an under-recognized health problem in India. A Cholera Expert Group in the country was established to gather evidence and to prepare a road map for control of cholera in India. This paper identifies cholera burden hotspots and factors associated with an increased risk of the disease.

Methodology/principle findings: We acquired district level data on cholera case reports of 2010-2015 from the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program. Socioeconomic characteristics and coverage of water and sanitation was obtained from the 2011 census. Spatial analysis was performed to identify cholera hotspots, and a zero-inflated Poisson regression was employed to identify the factors associated with cholera and predicted case count in the district. 27,615 cholera cases were reported during the 6-year period. Twenty-four of 36 states of India reported cholera during these years, and 13 states were classified as endemic. Of 641 districts, 78 districts in 15 states were identified as "hotspots" based on the reported cases. On the other hand, 111 districts in nine states were identified as "hotspots" from model-based predicted number of cases. The risk for cholera in a district was negatively associated with the coverage of literate persons, households using treated water source and owning mobile telephone, and positively associated with the coverage of poor sanitation and drainage conditions and urbanization level in the district.

Conclusions/significance: The study reaffirms that cholera continues to occur throughout a large part of India and identifies the burden hotspots and risk factors. Policymakers may use the findings of the article to develop a roadmap for prevention and control of cholera in India.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cholera / epidemiology*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors