Cholera, caused by the infection of toxigenic Vibrio cholerae (V. cholerae) to humans, is a life threatening diarrheal disease with epidemic and pandemic potential. The V. cholerae, both O1 and O139 serogroups, produce a potent enterotoxin (cholera toxin) responsible for the lethal symptoms of the disease. The O1 serogroup has two biotypes (phenotypes), classical and El Tor; each of which has two major serotypes (based on antigenic responses), Ogawa and Inaba and the extremely rare Hikojima. V. cholerae O1 strains interconvert and switch between the Ogawa and Inaba serotypes. Fluid and electrolyte replacement is the mainstay of treatment of cholera patients; the severe cases require antibiotic treatment to reduce the duration of illness and replacement of fluid intake. The antibiotic therapy currently has faced difficulties due to the rapid emergence and spread of multidrug resistant V. cholerae causing several outbreaks in the globe. Currently, cholera has been becoming endemic in an increasing number of geographical areas, reflecting a failure in implementation of control measures. However, the current safe oral vaccines lower the number of resistant infections and could thus represent an effective intervention measure to control antibiotic resistance in cholera. Overall, the priorities for cholera control remain public health interventions through improved drinking water, sanitation, surveillance and access to health care facilities, and further development of safe, effective and appropriate vaccines. Thus, this review describes the facts and phenomena related to the disease cholera, which is still a great threat mainly to the developing countries, and hence a grave global concern too.
Copyright © 2011 Hainan Medical College. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.