Monday, 12 June 2017 16:48

Cholera Cases Increase in Yemen: More ASM Resources on Cholera Research

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Published in mBiosphere

News outlets last week revealed that the cholera outbreak in Yemen, which had begun to spread in October 2016, has sickened over 100,000 people, with nearly 800 cholera-associated deaths. Cholera is a disease that flourishes in poor infrastructure conditions, such as those in the war-torn country. Yemen’s civil war has displaced millions, and the refugee camp conditions have left 14.5 million Yemeni without clean water access. Deteriorating conditions have led to a cholera case rate in the past month three times that of the initial outbreak.

Cholera treatment involves hydration therapy to alleviate dehydration that accompanies the watery diarrhea and antibiotic therapy. These antibiotics help shorten the course of disease and decrease person-to-person bacterial transmission, but antibiotic resistance in Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, has been an increasing issue for decades. Antibiotic resistance is particularly prevalent in poor regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh. Resistance is not yet complicating the Yemen cholera outbreak, but researchers are hard at work to determine how resistance occurs, as well as how to prevent the spread of these resistance determinants. 

Many V. cholerae behaviors are influenced by the ability of the bacteria to respond to a threshold population density, an ability known as quorum sensing. Several recent research reports from ASM Journals cover both mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and quorum sensing regulation:

 

Important basic research on V. cholerae biology is necessary to understand how it causes disease and what key processes may be targets for future antimicrobial research. Novel attributes of the V. cholerae genome replication have described key players in this vital cellular process in two recent mBio reports. Several additional reports cover new insights into mechanisms of disease and a potential new therapeutic to treat intestinal disease such as cholera:

Last modified on Monday, 12 June 2017 17:12
Julie Wolf

Julie Wolf is the ASM Science Communications Specialist. She contributes to the ASM social media and blog network and hosts the Meet the Microbiologist podcast. She also runs workshops at ASM conferences to help scientists improve their own communication skills. Follow Julie on Twitter for more ASM and microbiology highlights at @JulieMarieWolf.

Julie earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, focusing on medical mycology and infectious disease. Outside of her work at ASM, she maintains a strong commitment to scientific education and teaches molecular biology at the community biolab, Genspace. She lives in beautiful New York City.

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