Researchers at International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in Seoul, Korea have found that the oral cholera vaccine can help diminish the impact of outbreaks even after they've started. In the past, outbreaks of the disease, which is caused by a lack of clean water and proper sanitation, have struck fast and hard. And the outbreaks would be over before vaccinations could be distributed. But recent mutations in Vibrio cholerae, the pathogen that causes the disease, caused outbreaks to last longer than before. The disease "is now associated with longer outbreaks, and more severe clinical disease, leading to higher case totality rates and increased drug resistance," explained Dr. Edward Ryan of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in an editorial.
Using data from recent outbreaks in Haiti, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, the researchers modeled 50 percent and 75 percent vaccine coverage with full vaccinations completed from from 10 to 33 weeks after the outbreak began. They determined that even a slow response could be beneficial. The study appeared in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
- here's the release