Cholera caused by the toxigenic Vibrio cholerae is still a major public health problem in many countries. This disease is mainly due to poor sanitation, hygiene and consumption of unsafe water. Several recent epidemics of cholera showed its increasing intensity, duration and severity of the illness. This indicates an urgent need for effective management and preventive measures in controlling the outbreaks and epidemics. In preventing and spread of epidemic cholera, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are useful in screening suspected stool specimens, water/food samples. Several RDTs developed recently are considered as investigative tools in confirming cholera cases, as the culture techniques are difficult to establish and/or maintain. The usefulness of RDTs will be more at the point-of-care facilities as it helps to make appropriate decisions in the management of outbreaks or epidemiological surveillance by the public health authorities. Apart from RDTs, several other tests are available for the direct detection of either V. cholerae or its cholera toxin. Viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state of V. cholerae poses a great challenge in developing RDTs. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of current knowledge about RDT and other techniques with reference to their status and future potentials in detecting cholera/V. cholerae.
Keywords: Cholera toxin; Culture methods; ELISA; PCR; Point-of-care facilities; Rapid diagnostic tests; Viable but non-culturable.
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