Cost-effectiveness of oral cholera vaccine in a stable refugee population at risk for epidemic cholera and in a population with endemic cholera

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Bulletin of the World Health Organization






Recent large epidemics of cholera with high incidence and associated mortality among refugees have raised the question of whether oral cholera vaccines should be considered as an additional preventive measure in high- risk populations. The potential impact of oral cholera vaccines on populations prone to seasonal endemic cholera has also been questioned. This article reviews the potential cost-effectiveness of B-subunit, killed whole- cell (BS-WC) oral cholera vaccine in a stable refugee population and in a population with endemic cholera. In the population at risk for endemic cholera, mass vaccination with BS-WC vaccine is the least cost-effective intervention compared with the provision of safe drinking-water and sanitation or with treatment of the disease. In a refugee population at risk for epidemic disease, the cost-effectiveness of vaccination is similar to that of providing safe drinking-water and sanitation alone, though less cost- effective than treatment alone or treatment combined with the provision of water and sanitation. The implications of these data for public health decision-makers and programme managers are discussed. There is a need for better information on the feasibility and costs of administering oral cholera vaccine in refugee populations and populations with endemic cholera.

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