Cholera Fast Facts

(CNN)Here’s a look at cholera, an acute diarrheal disease which kills thousands of people worldwide each year.

More than 129,000 cases were reported to the World Health Organization in 2013. However, the WHO believes the true number of cases annually is between 1-4 million, with 28,000 to 140,000 deaths.
Cholera is contracted by consuming food or water contaminated with the fecal bacteria Vibrio cholerae.


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The symptoms are usually mild, but about 20% of cases include symptoms of watery diarrhea.
Dehydration from rapid loss of body fluids is the reason the disease can be so deadly within hours if the patient is not treated.
The disease’s short incubation period of two hours to five days increases the likelihood of outbreaks.
80% of cholera cases can be treated and resolved with oral hydration salts.
There are two two-dose oral vaccines available, Dukoral and ShanChol, but it may take weeks for an individual to have full protection.
Cholera is rare in industrialized nations.
People who live in areas with poor or inadequate water treatment, sanitation, and hygiene practices are more likely to get the disease.
The world is currently experiencing its seventh cholera pandemic, which began in Indonesia in 1961.
2013 –
129,064 reported cases in 47 countries with 2,102 deaths.
— In the United States there were 14 cases with no deaths.
2012 245,393 reported cases in 48 countries with 3,034 deaths.
— In the United States there were 18 cases with no deaths.
2011 – 589,854 reported cases in 58 countries with 7,816 deaths.
— In Haiti there were 340,311 cases.
— In the United States there were 42 cases with no deaths.
2010 – 317,534 reported cases in 48 countries with 7,543 deaths.
— In Haiti there were 179,379 cases.
— In the United States there were 15 cases with no deaths.
2009 – 221,226 reported cases in 45 countries with 4,946 deaths.
— In Zimbabwe there were 68,153 cases.
— In the United States there were 10 cases with no deaths.
2008 – 190,130 reported cases in 56 countries with 5,143 deaths.
— In Zimbabwe there were 60,055 cases.
— In the United States there were five cases with no deaths.
– The first pandemic begins in India, a place where cholera has existed for centuries.
1820s – The disease spreads east to the Philippines and west to Turkey and Africa.
1820 – More than 100,000 people die on the island of Java in Indonesia.
1821 – In Basra, Iraq approximately 18,000 people die in a three week period.
1829 – The second pandemic begins in India.
1830 – Cholera reaches Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, its first appearance in Europe.
1832 – Cholera reaches the Western Hemisphere. In June, more than 1,000 people die in Quebec, Canada. More than 5,000 people die in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1852 – The third pandemic begins in India. This is considered the deadliest of the seven pandemics.
1854 – More than 23,000 people in Great Britain die, in the worst year of the pandemic.
1863 – The fourth pandemic begins in India.
1877-1879 – Approximately 90,000 people die in Japan.
1881 – The fifth pandemic begins in India.
1884 – The disease kills more than 5,000 in Naples, Italy.
1885 – More than 60,000 people die in two Spanish provinces.
1893-1894 – Approximately 200,000 people die in Russia.
1899 – The sixth pandemic begins in India.
1907-1908 – More than 20,000 pilgrims die of cholera during the Haj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
1923 – The sixth pandemic ends and cholera disappears from most of the world, except India.
1961 – The seventh pandemic begins on the Indonesian island of Celebes. It spreads throughout Asia during the 1960s.
1970s – Cholera reaches Africa for the first time in 70 years.
1991 – The disease appears in Latin America (Peru) for the first time in 100 years. Approximately 3,000 people die.
1994 – Cholera breaks out in Rwandan refugee camps near Goma, Zaire. Tens of thousands of people die within a month.
2008-2009 – An estimated 4,200 people die in Zimbabwe.
October 2010Cholera breaks out in Haiti, and more than 6,600 die within a year.
July 2011 – According to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal most likely caused the October 2010 cholera epidemic.
July 2012 – Cholera breaks out in Cuba for the first time in more than 100 years.
May 22, 2013Haiti reports 657,117 cases of cholera and 8,096 deaths attributed to cholera since the 2010 outbreak.
January 15, 2013 – The Cuban Health Ministry reports 51 new cases of cholera in Havana.
2013 – An outbreak in Mexico leads to 159 confirmed cases of cholera.
October 10, 2013 – Human rights lawyers filed a class action law suit in a U.S. federal court accusing the United Nations of gross negligence and misconduct on behalf of victims of a cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2010.

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