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TGen and DTU researchers track source of Haitian cholera outbreak
Date:8/23/2011

), whose Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics also contributed to the study.

Dr. Keim praised TGen's collaborators at the National Public Health Laboratory in Nepal, and at the National Food Institute in Denmark, where the study's senior author, Dr. Frank M. Aarestrup, is head of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Molecular Epidemiology Unit.

"This study highlights how rapidly infectious diseases might be transmitted globally through international travel, and how public health officials need to use advanced molecular tools, along with standard epidemiological analyses, to quickly and accurately determine sources of outbreaks," said Dr. Aarestrup, who also is head of both the World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance among Foodborne Pathogens and of the European Union (EU) Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance.

Dr. Lance Price, an associate professor at TGen and co-author of the new study, said the investigation into the source of Haitian cholera could help prevent such outbreaks in the future.

"This effort validates the power of advanced molecular tools in investigating outbreaks of this nature," Dr. Price said. "The goal now should be finding ways to prevent such outbreaks, perhaps through screening prior to deployment. This study is not about placing blame, it's about preventing such disasters in the future."

Researchers confirmed the source of the outbreak by comparing the DNA of 24 cholera samples (the bacterium Vibrio cholera) from five different districts in Nepal with 10 samples of cholera from Haiti. All 24 samples from Nepal matched the samples from Haiti. Some of the samples, the report said, "were almost identical."

Dr. Price said the TGen findings makes a very strong case for the source of the cholera, and aligns with a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said "evidence strongly suggests" that the Nepalese sold
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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