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Am J Public Health. 2013 Nov;103(11):1934-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301567. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Modern cholera in the Americas: an opportunistic societal infection.

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Rodrigo Cerda is with the Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston. Patrick T. Lee is with the Primary Care Center, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA, and Harvard Medical School.


In the Americas, the only two cholera epidemics of the past century have occurred in the past 25 years. Lessons from the 1991 Peruvian cholera epidemic can help to focus and refine the response to the current Haitian epidemic. After three years of acute epidemic response, we have an opportunity to refocus on the chronic conditions that make societies vulnerable to cholera. More importantly, even as international attention wanes in the aftermath of the earthquake and acute epidemic, we are faced with a need for continued and coordinated investment in improving Haiti's structural defenses against cholera, in particular access to improved water and sanitation.

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