The use of vaccines to prevent and control cholera is currently under debate. Shanchol is one of the two oral cholera vaccines prequalified by the World Health Organization.
However, its effectiveness under field conditions and the protection it confers in the first months after administration remain unknown.
Dr Francisco Luquero and colleagues estimated the short-term effectiveness of two doses of Shanchol used as a part of the integrated response to a cholera outbreak in Africa.
The research team conducted a matched case–control study in Guinea in 2012.
Suspected cholera cases were confirmed by means of a rapid test, and controls were selected among neighbors of the same age and sex as the case patients.
The odds of vaccination were compared between case patients and controls in bivariate and adjusted conditional logistic-regression models.
The researchers included 40 case patients and 160 controls in the study for the primary analysis.
After adjustment for potentially confounding variables, the team found that vaccination with 2 complete doses was associated with significant protection against cholera.
Dr Luquero and team comment, "In this study, Shanchol was effective when used in response to a cholera outbreak in Guinea."
"This study provides evidence supporting the addition of vaccination as part of the response to an outbreak."
"It also supports the ongoing efforts to establish a cholera vaccine stockpile for emergency use, which would enhance outbreak prevention and control strategies."