On 16 August 2016 local government authorities declared an outbreak of cholera following an initial report of three cases in So-Ava. Initially reported and verified cases were so few that local authorities considered them manageable. However, a sharp spike in confirmed cases between 25 – 30 August 2016 in the three main areas of Cotonou, Savalou and So-Ava have resulted in a request from Benin Red Cross Society for humanitarian aid.
As of 4 September 2016, a total of 281 cases and 9 deaths were recorded with a 3.20% case fatality rate, with Cotonou the most affected area to date.
Advice for Travellers
Prevention is focused on ensuring safe food and water, particularly in countries where cholera is more common. Food and drink to be wary of include untreated water, ice, shellfish, salads, unwashed fruit and vegetables.
Good personal hygiene is essential. Individuals should ensure that they wash their hands prior to eating and after visiting the bathroom.
A vaccine is available to protect against cholera. Vaccination may be considered under the following circumstances:
- Volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where cholera outbreaks likely.
- Those travelling to work in slums/refugee camps, areas affected by natural disasters, or countries experiencing cholera outbreaks.