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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Jan 30;13(1):e0007134. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007134. eCollection 2019 Jan.

Food insecurity and self-reported cholera in Haitian households: An analysis of the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Zanmi Lasante / Partners In Health, Cange, Haiti.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Global Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.



Both cholera and food insecurity tend to occur in impoverished communities where poor access to food, inadequate sanitation, and an unsafe water supply often coexist. The relationship between the two, however, has not been well-characterized.


We performed a secondary analysis of household-level data from the 2012 Demographic and Health Survey in Haiti, a nationally and sub-nationally representative cross-sectional household survey conducted every five years. We used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate the relationship between household food security (as measured by the Household Hunger Scale) and (1) reported history of cholera since 2010 by any person in the household and (2) reported death by any person in the household from cholera (among households reporting at least one case). We performed a complete case analysis because there were <1% missing data for all variables.


There were 13,181 households in the survey, 2,104 of which reported at least one household member with history of cholera. After adjustment for potential confounders, both moderate hunger in the household [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.51, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.30-1.76; p <.0001] and severe hunger in the household (AOR 1.73, 95% CI 1.45-2.08; p <.0001) were significantly associated with reported history of cholera in the household. Severe hunger in the household (AOR 1.85, 95% CI 1.05-3.26; p = 0.03), but not moderate hunger in the household, was independently associated with reported death from cholera in households with at least one case of cholera.


In this study we identified an independent relationship between household food insecurity and both reported history of cholera and death from cholera in a general population. The directionality of this relationship is uncertain and should be further explored in future prospective research.

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