Cholera Hot-Spots and Contextual Factors in Burundi, Planning for Elimination

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2021 May 11;6(2):76. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed6020076.


The Republic of Burundi first reported cholera cases in 1978 and outbreaks have been occurring nearly every year since then. From 2008-2020, 6949 cases and 43 deaths were officially reported. To evaluate Burundi's potential to eliminate cholera, we identified hotspots using cholera incidence and disease persistence as suggested by the Global Task Force for Cholera Control. The mean annual incidence for each district that reported cholera ranged from 0.29 to 563.14 cases per 100,000 population per year from 2014-2020. Ten of 12 Health Districts which recorded cholera cases reported a mean annual incidence ≥5 per 100,000 for this time period. Cholera cases occur during the second half of the year in the areas near Lake Tanganyika and along the Ruzizi River, with the highest risk district being Bujumbura Centre. Additional research is needed to understand the role of Lake Tanganyika; risks associated with fishing; migration patterns; and other factors that may explain cholera's seasonality. Due to the consistent epidemiological pattern and the relatively small area affected by cholera, control and elimination are feasible with an integrated program of campaigns using oral cholera vaccine over the short term and community-based interventions including WASH activities for sustained control.

Keywords: Burundi; cholera; diarrhea; hot spot; oral cholera vaccine.