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Stockpiles of cholera vaccines could reduce cholera cases and deaths in countries like Haiti. Cholera hadn't been documented in Haiti for decades, until the 2010 earthquake caused 234,303 cases and 4,533 cholera-related deaths. According to computer simulations described in the April 26 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vaccinating 50% to 70% of people in targeted, high-risk regions, such as along rivers, even after the disease strikes, could reduce illness and death by 50% in the country, where cholera is expected to become endemic. A more expensive option, but with similar results, would be to inoculate about a third of Haiti's total population. Vaccination is more effective when combined with improved hygiene, sanitation, and the use of oral rehydration salt packets. The authors recommend that these vaccines be stockpiled for future outbreaks.

Figure. A nurse trea... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. A nurse treats cholera patients in a hospital in Petite Riviere, Haiti. Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images.