Cholera in the Middle East and Africa – an interview with Martin Mengel

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With the focus this month turning to enteric infections, cholera could not be overlooked. Cholera has been prevalent in the news recently following a devastating outbreak in Yemen, however, this disease also affects many other parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, that struggle with safe water supply.

In this interview we take a look at the differences in these two outbreak situations, and the strategies required to tackle them, as we talk to Martin Mengel following his presentation at the 28th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID; 21–24 April, Madrid, Spain).

First, could you introduce yourself and give a brief summary your career to date?

I’m Dr Martin Mengel, I’m a pediatrician by training. A few years into my residency in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology at the University of Cologne in Germany, I joined the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on their field epidemiology training program, which placed me in Madrid, Spain at the National Center for Epidemiology, Instituto Carlos III. After completing this I became Director of the African Cholera Surveillance Network (Africhol) with Agence de Médecine Préventive in Paris (France). This was a Gates-funded project to determine the burden of cholera diarrhea across sub-Sahara Africa through case-based diarrhea surveillance with exhaustive laboratory confirmation in 11 African countries, ending in 2016.

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