Vibrio Cholerae and Cholera: Out of the Water and Into the Host

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2002 Jun;26(2):125-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2002.tb00605.x.


The facultative human pathogen Vibrio cholerae can be isolated from estuarine and aquatic environments. V. cholerae is well recognized and extensively studied as the causative agent of the human intestinal disease cholera. In former centuries cholera was a permanent threat even to the highly developed populations of Europe, North America, and the northern part of Asia. Today, cholera still remains a burden mainly for underdeveloped countries, which cannot afford to establish or to maintain necessary hygienic and medical facilities. Especially in these environments, cholera is responsible for significant mortality and economic damage. During the last three decades, intensive research has been undertaken to unravel the virulence properties and to study the epidemiology of this significant human pathogen. More recently, researchers have been elucidating the environmental lifestyle of V. cholerae. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of both the host- and environment-specific physiological attributes of V. cholerae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholera / epidemiology
  • Cholera / immunology
  • Cholera / microbiology*
  • Cholera / transmission*
  • Cholera Toxin / biosynthesis
  • Cholera Toxin / genetics
  • Cholera Vaccines / immunology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Vibrio cholerae / isolation & purification
  • Vibrio cholerae / pathogenicity
  • Vibrio cholerae / physiology*
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Water Microbiology*


  • Cholera Vaccines
  • Cholera Toxin