The response to a cholera outbreak must focus on limiting mortality and reducing the spread of the disease. It should be comprehensive and multisectoral, including epidemiology, case management, water, sanitation and hygiene, logistics, community engagement and risk communication. All efforts must be well coordinated to ensure a rapid and effective response across sectors.

This document provides a framework for detecting and monitoring cholera outbreaks and organizing the response, and includes a short section linking outbreak response to both preparedness and long-term prevention activities.


The objectives of this document, in accordance with recommendations based on guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), are to:

    • provide a comprehensive overview of cholera outbreak response;
    • improve prevention, preparedness and timely response to cholera outbreaks.

    Target audience

    This document is intended primarily for public health professionals and programme managers who are directly involved in cholera outbreak detection and response. These include, for example, staff working at ministries of health, public health institutions, United Nations agencies including WHO country offices, and partners including nongovernmental organizations.

    When can the Document be Used?

    This document can be used

    • before an outbreak for prevention and preparedness
    • when a cholera outbreak is suspected
    • during an outbreak to organize and monitor the response
    • after an outbreak to assess the response and improve prevention and preparedness

    Structure of the Document

    This document contains an introduction to cholera, 10 technical sections and 15 appendices covering the key information, tools and action points. At the beginning of each section, a quick-reference box provides the contents of the section and a list of additional resources.