Vulnerability to coastal cholera ecology

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The battle to completely control cholera continues. Multiple strains, high levels of morbidity in some regions of the world, and a complex of influences on its distribution in people and the environment are accompanied by only rough resolution prediction of outbreaks. Uncertainty as to the most effective array of interventions for one of the most researched infectious diseases thwarts further progress in providing cost-effective solutions. Progress on the research front consistently points towards the importance of disease ecology, coastal environments, and the sea. However, evaluation of the link between cholera in people and environment can only be effective with analysis of human vulnerability to variable coastal cholera ecologies. As there are some clear links between the organism, cholera incidence and the sea, it is appropriate that cholera research should examine the nature of coastal population vulnerability to the disease. The paper reviews the cholera risks of human-environment interactions in coastal areas as one component of the evaluation of cholera management. This points to effective intervention through integrative knowledge of changing human and environmental ecologies, requiring improved detection, but also an acceptance of complex causality. The challenge is to identify indicators and interventions for case specific ecologies in variable locales of human vulnerability and disease hazard. Further work will therefore aim to explore improved surveillance and intervention across the socio-behavioural and ecological spectrum. Furthermore, the story of cholera continues to inform us about how we should more effectively view emergent and resurgent infectious disease hazards more generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1407
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


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