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February 18, 1998

Cholera Vaccination in Refugee Settings

Author Affiliations

From Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival (BASICS), Arlington, Va (Dr Waldman).

JAMA. 1998;279(7):552-553. doi:10.1001/jama.279.7.552

The sight of thousands of bodies piled 3 and 4 high along the roadsides that led from the city of Goma, Zaire, to Rwandan refugee camps in July 1994 was shocking even to the most seasoned relief workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 45000 people died of Vibriocholerae O1 and that more than 600000 were infected over the course of 3 weeks.1 Many kinds of assistance were offered, including a large quantity of cholera vaccine procured by the US Army from a Swedish manufacturer. The offer of free vaccine, and expressions of incredulity that accompanied its rejection by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization (WHO), were well documented on a television news program.2

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