In the last decades, attention to cholera epidemiology increased, as cholera epidemics became a worldwide health problem. Detailed investigation of V. cholerae interactions with its host and with other organisms in the environment suggests that cholera dynamics is much more complex than previously thought. Here, I formulate a mathematical model of cholera epidemiology that incorporates an environmental reservoir of V. cholerae. The objective is to explore the role of the aquatic reservoir on the persistence of endemic cholera as well as to define minimum conditions for the development of epidemic and endemic cholera.
The reproduction rate of cholera in a community is defined by the product of social and environmental factors. The importance of the aquatic reservoir depends on the sanitary conditions of the community. Seasonal variations of contact rates force a cyclical pattern of cholera outbreaks, as observed in some cholera-endemic communities.
Further development on cholera modeling requires a better understanding of V. cholerae ecology and epidemiology. We need estimates of the prevalence of V. cholerae infection in endemic populations as well as a better description of the relationship between dose and virulence.