Endemic cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine that causes acute, watery diarrhea. If untreated, it can lead to potentially fatal dehydration. Although advances in rehydration therapy have made cholera a treatable disease in areas with sufficient medical care, it remains a fatal condition among the world's most impoverished populations. The disease is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with a comma-shaped bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
Co-authors on the paper included researchers from Emory University in Atlanta; the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, Korea; and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh.
"These important findings stem from the recent recognition that oral vaccines against cholera confer herd protection -- protection of nonvaccinated neighbors of vaccinated persons," said John Clemens, M.D., director-general of the International Vaccine Institute and paper co-author. "I believe this study will have an impact on the public-health community's approach to controlling cholera," he said.
The research was supported by the Diseases of the Most Impoverished (DOMI) Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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