Recent work has provided new insights into the pathogenesis of the potentially life-threatening diarrheas caused by Vibrio cholerae and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC): a new mechanism (post-translational degradation), which is involved in the control of cholera toxin expression, has been discovered. Recent evidence also suggests that vibrios upregulate cholera toxin expression in response to intestinal fluid components, and enterotoxin-carrying bacterial outer membrane vesicles might have a function in ETEC pathogenesis. An important role of the environment is supported by the correlation between cholera incidence and elevated sea surface temperature, which supports the notion that the zooplankton is a V. cholerae reservoir. Additionally, environmental lytic cholera phages could influence cholera seasonality by 'terminating' the seasonal epidemic. Finally, the strong herd immunity elicited by an oral cholera vaccine indicates that cholera vaccination could have a significant public health impact.