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Drought-related cholera outbreaks in Africa and the implications for climate change: a narrative review

Charnley, GEC; Kelman, I; Murray, KA; (2021) Drought-related cholera outbreaks in Africa and the implications for climate change: a narrative review. Pathogens and Global Health 10.1080/20477724.2021.1981716. Green open access

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Abstract

Africa has historically seen several periods of prolonged and extreme droughts across the continent, causing food insecurity, exacerbating social inequity and frequent mortality. A known consequence of droughts and their associated risk factors are infectious disease outbreaks, which are worsened by malnutrition, poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene and population displacement. Cholera is a potential causative agent of such outbreaks. Africa has the highest global cholera burden, several drought-prone regions and high levels of inequity. Despite this, research on cholera and drought in Africa is lacking. Here, we review available research on drought-related cholera outbreaks in Africa and identify a variety of potential mechanisms through which these outbreaks occurred, including poor access to water, marginalization of refugees and nomadic populations, expansion of informal urban settlements and demographic risks. Future climate change may alter precipitation, temperature and drought patterns, resulting in more extremes, although these changes are likely to be spatially heterogeneous. Despite high uncertainty in future drought projections, increases in drought frequency and/or durations have the potential to alter these related outbreaks into the future, potentially increasing cholera burden in the absence of countermeasures (e.g. improved sanitation infrastructure). To enable effective planning for a potentially more drought-prone Africa, inequity must be addressed, research on the health implications of drought should be enhanced, and better drought diplomacy is required to improve drought resilience under climate change.

Type: Article
Title: Drought-related cholera outbreaks in Africa and the implications for climate change: a narrative review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/20477724.2021.1981716
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/20477724.2021.1981716
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, Parasitology, Tropical Medicine, Vibrio cholerae, outbreaks, drought, Africa, climate change, FRESH-WATER AVAILABILITY, EPIDEMIC CHOLERA, INDIAN-OCEAN, EAST-AFRICA, EL-NINO, VULNERABILITY, TRANSMISSION, HEALTH, RISK, PROJECTIONS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136696
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