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Vibrio cholerae

A dangerous comma

Vibrio cholerae is a small, comma-shaped, gram-negative1 bacillus that has a flagellum2. Vibrio cholerae is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family3 such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.

This bacterium is the cause of cholera4, a disease that occurs in waves of epidemics when the water is contaminated by the stools of infected people. The disease is characterized by severe diarrhea.

In the baggage of the peacekeepers

One of the recent large cholera epidemics struck Haiti in October 2010 a few months after a devastating earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and severely damaged water systems. On a mission in Nepal before their mission in Haiti, some peacekeepers brought Vibrio cholerae to Haiti from these cholera-endemic areas of Nepal. This had exacerbated the health crisis that the people of Haiti were facing. Almost a million people were infected during this cholera epidemic and 10,000 people died from it.