Effectiveness of oral cholera vaccine in preventing cholera among fishermen in Lake Chilwa, Malawi: A case-control study

Francesco Grandesso, Watipaso Kasambara, Anne Laure Page, Amanda K. Debes, Maurice M'bang'ombe, Adriana Palomares, Pauline Lechevalier, Lorenzo Pezzoli, Ian Alley, Leon Salumu, Kelias Msyamboza, David Sack, Sandra Cohuet, Francisco Javier Luquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In response to a cholera outbreak among mobile, difficult-to-reach fishermen on Lake Chilwa, Malawi in 2016, a novel vaccine distribution strategy exploited the proven vaccine thermostability. Fishermen, while taking the first vaccine dose under supervision, received the second dose in a sealed bag, and were told to drink it two weeks later. This study assessed short-term vaccine protection of this strategy. Methods: Patients with diarrhoea admitted to health facilities around lake were interviewed and a stool sample collected for PCR testing. Vaccine effectiveness was assessed in a case-control test-negative design by comparing cases (PCR-positive for V. cholerae O1) and controls (patients with diarrhoea but PCR-negative) and with the screening method that compared the proportions of vaccinated among cholera cases versus the general fishermen population. Results: Of 145 study participants, 120 were fishermen living on the lake. Vaccine effectiveness at three-months was 90.0% [95% CI: 38.8; 98.4] among fishermen and 83.3% [95% CI: 20.8; 96.5] among all participants in the case-control test-negative design, and 97.5% [95% CI: 90.9; 99.3] with the screening method. Conclusion: This strategy was effective in providing short-term protection in fishermen against cholera. Further research is needed to determine the adding value of the second dose and to identify the optimal vaccination strategies for different contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3668-3676
Number of pages9
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jun 19 2019


  • Cholera
  • Effectiveness
  • Hard-to-reach populations
  • Malawi
  • Thermostability
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Effectiveness of oral cholera vaccine in preventing cholera among fishermen in Lake Chilwa, Malawi: A case-control study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this