Historical and contemporary views on cholera transmission: are we repeating past discussions? Can lessons learned from cholera be applied to COVID-19?

Peter Kjær Mackie Jensen, Stephen Lawrence Grant, Mads Linnet Perner, Zenat Zebin Hossain, Jannatul Ferdous, Rebeca Sultana, Sara Almeida, Matthew Phelps, Anowara Begum

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Cholera, a devastating diarrheal disease that caused several global pandemics in the last centuries, may share some similarities with the new COVID-19. Cholera has affected many populations in history and still remains a significant burden in developing countries. The main transmission route was thought to be predominantly through contaminated drinking water. However, revisiting the historical data collected during the Copenhagen 1853 cholera outbreak allowed us to re-evaluate the role of drinking-water transmission in a city-wide outbreak and reconsider some critical transmission routes, which have been neglected since the time of John Snow. Recent empirical and cohort data from Bangladesh also strengthened the dynamic potentiality of other transmission routes (food, fomite, fish, flies) for transmitting cholera. Analyzing this particular nature of the cholera disease transmission, this paper will describe how the pattern of transmission routes are similar to COVID-19 and how the method of revisiting old data can be used for further exploration of new and known diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalA P M I S. Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)421-430
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

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