Malawi

Expanding Access to the Oral Cholera Vaccine

Members of the Malawi field team who visited pregnant women monthly to check on status of pregnancy and encourage them to go for pre-natal visits

Members of the Malawi field team who visited pregnant women monthly to check on status of pregnancy and encourage them to go for pre-natal visits

This post originally appeared on Johns Hopkins' The Globe.

A new study by a team of Hopkins faculty and students led by Dr. Mohammad Ali, a senior scientist in International Health, found significant evidence that the oral killed whole-cell cholera vaccine is safe to administer during pregnancy.

Cholera affects about 2.5 million people a year, and, if untreated, the disease can be fatal in a matter of hours. As a result, around 100,000 people—overwhelmingly the world’s most vulnerable—die every year because they have no access to care (1). Among pregnant women, cholera can increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth by up to 36 percent. Yet, pregnant women have largely been excluded from vaccination campaigns because little evidence has been available to confirm that it is safe for fetuses (2) —leaving both the women and their pregnancies less protected from the disease.