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PLoS One. 2018 Aug 1;13(8):e0201306. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201306. eCollection 2018.

Confirmation of cholera by rapid diagnostic test amongst patients admitted to the cholera treatment centre in Uvira, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Author information

Environmental Health Group, Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.
Ministère de la Santé Publique, Division Provinciale de la Santé Publique, District Sanitaire d'Uvira, Uvira, Sud-Kivu, République Démocratique du Congo.
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.



Cholera is endemic in the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1978, and Uvira in South-Kivu has been reporting suspected cholera cases nearly every week for over a decade. The clinical case definition for suspected cholera is relatively non-specific, and cases are rarely confirmed by laboratory methods, especially in endemic settings. This may lead to over-estimation of cholera cases and limit effective public health responses.


Between April 2016 and November 2017, 69% of the 2,059 patients admitted to the Uvira Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) were tested for cholera with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Of those admitted as suspected cholera cases, only 40% tested positive for cholera, equivalent to an estimated annual incidence of suspected/confirmed cholera in Uvira of 43.8 and 16.3 cases per 10,000 inhabitants respectively. A multivariable logistic regression indicates that boys aged 2 to 4 years, girls aged 5 to 15 years and adult men are respectively 1.9, 2.1 and 1.8 times more likely to test positive than adult women. On the contrary, boys under 2 are 10 times less likely to test positive. The odds of testing positive also increase as weekly admissions to the CTC rise, with up to a 5-fold increase observed during the weeks with the highest numbers of admissions compared to the lowest ones. Other predictors of cholera confirmation include duration of stay at the CTC, clinical outcome of admission, lower weekly rainfall and area of residence in Uvira, with the northern part of town having the highest confirmation rate.


Cholera is an on-going public health problem in Uvira but the majority of suspected cases admitted to the CTC were found to be negative for cholera after RDT testing. These findings may have important implications for cholera control strategies in favour of interventions that address cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases alike.

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