The health economics of cholera: A systematic review

Publication date: 16 July 2018
Source:Vaccine, Volume 36, Issue 30
Author(s): Amber Hsiao, Angela H. Hall, Vittal Mogasale, Wilm Quentin
BackgroundVibrio cholera is a major contributor of diarrheal illness that causes significant morbidity and mortality globally. While there is literature on the health economics of diarrheal illnesses more generally, few studies have quantified the cost-of-illness and cost-effectiveness of cholera-specific prevention and control interventions. The present systematic review provides a comprehensive overview of the literature specific to cholera as it pertains to key health economic measures.MethodsA systematic review was performed with no date restrictions up through February 2017 in PubMed, Econlit, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Review to identify relevant health economics of cholera literature. After removing duplicates, a total of 1993 studies were screened and coded independently by two reviewers, resulting in 22 relevant studies. Data on population, methods, and results (cost-of-illness and cost-effectiveness of vaccination) were compared by country/region. All costs were adjusted to 2017 USD for comparability.ResultsCosts per cholera case were found to be rather low: <$100 per case in most settings, even when costs incurred by patients/families and lost productivity are considered. When wider socioeconomic costs are included, estimated costs are >$1000/case. There is adequate evidence to support the economic value of vaccination for the prevention and control of cholera when vaccination is targeted at high-incidence populations and/or areas with high case fatality rates due to cholera. When herd immunity is considered, vaccination also becomes a cost-effective option for the general population and is comparable in cost-effectiveness to other routine immunizations.ConclusionsCholera vaccination is a viable short-to-medium term option, especially as the upfront costs of building water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure are considerably higher for countries that face a significant burden of cholera. While WASH may be the more cost-effective solution in the long-term when implemented properly, cholera vaccination can still be a feasible, cost-effective strategy.