A Review of the Environmental Trigger and Transmission Components for Prediction of Cholera

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Usmani, M.; Brumfield, K.D.; Jamal, Y.; Huq, A.; Colwell, R.R.; Jutla, A. A Review of the Environmental Trigger and Transmission Components for Prediction of Cholera. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2021, 6, 147.


Climate variables influence the occurrence, growth, and distribution of Vibrio cholerae in the aquatic environment. Together with socio-economic factors, these variables affect the incidence and intensity of cholera outbreaks. The current pandemic of cholera began in the 1960s, and millions of cholera cases are reported each year globally. Hence, cholera remains a significant health challenge, notably where human vulnerability intersects with changes in hydrological and environmental processes. Cholera outbreaks may be epidemic or endemic, the mode of which is governed by trigger and transmission components that control the outbreak and spread of the disease, respectively. Traditional cholera risk assessment models, namely compartmental susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered (SEIR) type models, have been used to determine the predictive spread of cholera through the fecal–oral route in human populations. However, these models often fail to capture modes of infection via indirect routes, such as pathogen movement in the environment and heterogeneities relevant to disease transmission. Conversely, other models that rely solely on variability of selected environmental factors (i.e., examine only triggers) have accomplished real-time outbreak prediction but fail to capture the transmission of cholera within impacted populations. Since the mode of cholera outbreaks can transition from epidemic to endemic, a comprehensive transmission model is needed to achieve timely and reliable prediction with respect to quantitative environmental risk. Here, we discuss progression of the trigger module associated with both epidemic and endemic cholera, in the context of the autochthonous aquatic nature of the causative agent of cholera, V. cholerae, as well as disease prediction.