Cholera epidemic in Benin: 1,430 cases notified during the second wave


news desk @infectiousdiseasenews

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Tuesday in a Disease Outbreak News report that Benin reported its first epidemic wave of cholera between March and April, in the commune of So-Ava, department of Atlantique, with 103 cases including three laboratory confirmed cases and no deaths.

Map of Benin/CIA

A second epidemic wave began in September 2021, with 1,430 cases and 20 deaths (fatality: 1.4%) reported from September 1, 2021 to January 16, 2022. Among these, stool culture performed on 41 samples at the Benin National Laboratory has been confirmed as Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1.

Cases have been reported in nine departments of Benin, including Alibori, Atacora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Donga, Littoral, Mono and Ouémé.

Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of V.cholerae bacteria in contaminated water or food. It is mainly linked to insufficient access to drinking water and adequate sanitation. It is a potentially serious infectious disease that can cause high morbidity and mortality, and can spread rapidly, depending on frequency of exposure, exposed population and setting.

Cholera is endemic in Benin and since 2016, cases continue to be reported each year in different departments of the country. The district of Parakou in the department of Borgou is the epicenter of the current outbreak with high commercial traffic to Cotonou, the capital of Benin.

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The main factors attributed to the outbreak and continued spread of cholera epidemics in Benin include:

  • Insufficient hygiene and sanitation
  • The lack of public hygiene infrastructure
  • Limited supply of drinking water
  • open defecation
  • Poor hand washing practice.

Additionally, Benin shares international borders with Nigeria and Togo, and there are frequent and significant cross-border population movements. This poses a risk of cross-border transmission of cholera.