Each year there are between three million and five million cases of cholera worldwide, causing between 100,000 to 120,000 deaths. In 2014, MSF treated around 21,000 cases of cholera in its projects worldwide.
The first case of cholera was registered in Malawi in 1973. Outbreaks have occurred almost every year since with the highest number of cases and deaths reported in 2001–2002. The current outbreak was confirmed at the end of December 2015 in the southern part of the country. By 1 March a total of 920 cases with 25 deaths (14 at health centres and 10 in the community) were reported in the three districts surrounding Lake Chilwa (Machinga, Zomba and Phalome).