The epidemiology of cholera in Zanzibar: Implications for the zanzibar comprehensive cholera elimination plan

Qifang Bi, Fadhil M. Abdalla, Salma Masauni, Rita Reyburn, Marko Msambazi, Carole Deglise, Lorenz Von Seidlein, Jacqueline Deen, Mohamed Saleh Jiddawi, David Olson, Iriya Nemes, Jamala Adam Taib, Justin Lessler, Ghirmay Redae Andemichael, Andrew S. Azman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Cholera poses a public health and economic threat to Zanzibar. Detailed epidemiologic analyses are needed to inform a multisectoral cholera elimination plan currently under development. Methods We collated passive surveillance data from 1997 to 2017 and calculated the outbreak-specific and cumulative incidence of suspected cholera per shehia (neighborhood). We explored the variability in shehia-specific relative cholera risk and explored the predictive power of targeting intervention at shehias based on historical incidence. Using flexible regression models, we estimated cholera's seasonality and the relationship between rainfall and cholera transmission. Results From 1997 and 2017, 11921 suspected cholera cases were reported across 87% of Zanzibar's shehias, representing an average incidence rate of 4.4 per 10000/year. The geographic distribution of cases across outbreaks was variable, although a number of high-burden areas were identified. Outbreaks were highly seasonal with 2 high-risk periods corresponding to the annual rainy seasons. Conclusions Shehia-targeted interventions should be complemented with island-wide cholera prevention activities given the spatial variability in cholera risk from outbreak to outbreak. In-depth risk factor analyses should be conducted in the high-burden shehias. The seasonal nature of cholera provides annual windows of opportunity for cholera preparedness activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S173-S180
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018


  • Vibrio cholerae
  • cholera
  • cholera elimination plan
  • hotspot stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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