Vibrio Cholerae (Cholera)

The Bacteria

Cholera is an acute infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It results in profuse, painless, watery diarrhea and vomiting. If left untreated, these symptoms quickly lead to dehydration and even death. Large outbreaks have been linked to fecal contamination of food and water, and occasionally, to ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish.

There is a noted correlation between the re-emergence of cholera and the recent growth in vulnerable populations that are living in unsanitary conditions. Globally, there are 3 - 5 million cases cholera cases each year. About 100,000 -130,000 of these result in death. At most, about five cases occur in the U.S. each year, mostly due to due to the ingestion of contaminated food. Approximately 80 percent of cases can be successfully treated with oral rehydration salts. However, without treatment the mortality rate for cholera can be as high as 50 percent.

The Problem

The complete eradication of cholera is quite difficult, so the challenge lies in the adoption of effective control measures to combat large-scale cholera pandemics in combination with treatment for the most vulnerable populations. Effective control measures include prevention, preparedness and response, while treatment consists of providing sanitary conditions, including safe drinking water, and antibiotic treatment.

As with other infectious diseases, effective antibiotic treatment is threatened by cholera’s growing resistance to antibiotics such as doxycyclin, tetracycline and erythromycin. For example, new strains of cholera have recently been found in regions of Asia and Africa, and evidence suggests that they are more virulent and lethal.

Though oral cholera vaccines are currently on the market, they are meant to be used in conjunction with conventional measures of control. Vaccines are intended for use specifically for people living in high-risk areas and not for the purposes of mass immunization. In fact, the protective efficacy of some vaccines are disputed by such organizations as the WHO and CDC, who do not fully recommend their use.

While rapid dip-stick tests and diagnostic assay methods such as PCR protocol are available to detect the presence of cholera, wait times are still significant and the costs are often prohibitive for many laboratories in developing regions. In many cases antibiotic treatment starts before confirmation of laboratory analysis, which can contribute antibiotic resistance. Further testing for such antibiotic resistance may also be needed.

The NanoLogix Solution - Live cell microorganism detection

NanoLogix technology offers results in dramatically shorter time periods than conventional methods. The easy-to-use and portable technology that can be used on the front lines in the case of an outbreak. Studies are currently underway to determine the exact speed of NanoLogix rapid detection technology for Cholera.