News / Africa

New, More Virulent Cholera Strain Caused Guinea Outbreak

Girls fill plastic basins at a free water tap in a neighborhood where houses with indoor plumbing rarely receive water, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, March 6, 2009. Contaminated drinking water leads to yearly cholera epidemics, particularly in remote rural reGirls fill plastic basins at a free water tap in a neighborhood where houses with indoor plumbing rarely receive water, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, March 6, 2009. Contaminated drinking water leads to yearly cholera epidemics, particularly in remote rural re
x
Girls fill plastic basins at a free water tap in a neighborhood where houses with indoor plumbing rarely receive water, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, March 6, 2009. Contaminated drinking water leads to yearly cholera epidemics, particularly in remote rural re
Girls fill plastic basins at a free water tap in a neighborhood where houses with indoor plumbing rarely receive water, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, March 6, 2009. Contaminated drinking water leads to yearly cholera epidemics, particularly in remote rural re
Nancy Palus
Scientists say the cholera outbreak that struck more than 7,000 people in Guinea this year was caused by a more toxic and more contagious generation of the bacteria. Researchers suspect the same strain killed nearly 300 people and struck more than 22,000 others in neighboring Sierra Leone.  
 
Through genetic sequencing of the cholera bacteria found in Guinea, epidemiologists working with the United Nations Children's Fund have identified them as atypical variants of the O1 El Tor strain.
 
Cholera, a preventable and treatable disease, causes watery diarrhea and vomiting. It can dehydrate a victim so rapidly that it can kill within hours if left untreated.

Virulent strain

The strain found in Guinea causes more violent symptoms and is more contagious than other strains, which is dangerous in a region where lack of access to safe water and proper sanitation make people especially vulnerable to infectious disease.
 
University Hospital of Marseilles epidemiologist Stanislas Rebaudet has studied the cholera strain in collaboration with UNICEF.
 
He said it is thought that with this generation of the El-Tor strain, people sick from cholera excrete more bacteria and are more contagious.  Therefore there is a risk of more serious epidemics, and governments and agencies working to fight cholera must take that into account.
 
That makes it all the more important that governments and aid agencies step up prevention and response efforts, said water and sanitation specialist François Bellet, who is with UNICEF’s regional office for West and Central Africa.
 
Inreased vigilance

He said this discovery raises the alert level, requiring stronger epidemiological surveillance, preparedness and response to cholera outbreaks in Guinea and throughout the region.
 
Cholera, caused by contaminated food or drink, is completely preventable. According to the World Health Organization, though, the illness kills at least 100,000 people every year.
 
Aid workers say cholera is believed to have arrived in Guinea this year from neighboring Sierra Leone, which saw its biggest cholera outbreak in years with some 22,000 cases. Specimens from Sierra Leone are under analysis. This year’s epidemic started in coastal villages, where people regularly move between the two countries as part of their daily activities.
 
Rebaudet said atypical El Tor strains are not completely new; they were first detected in Bangladesh some 20 years ago and have made their way to Africa during the past decade, in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Lake Chad region. The same strain also is currently implicated in Haiti.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: tahiry from: france
December 21, 2012 5:48 AM
It is so sad to read it , cholera is preventable, treatable, but most poor country is not able to face on .People should be learnt about how to prevent it
i wish a new year and outbreak will be erradicated

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid