Vibrio cholerae bacteria are the primary cause of cholera, which is an acute diarrheal illness. This disease can result in severe dehydration and even death within a matter of hours. Though rare in industrialized nations for the last 100 years, cholera still occurs frequently in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the United States, most Vibrio cholerae infections have come from contaminated shellfish and have occurred in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.
Vibrio cholerae bacteria are facultatively anaerobic (they can survive either with or without oxygen). There are two main types that cause cholera:
- Vibrio cholerae Serogroup non-O1
- Vibrio cholerae Serogroup O1.
(For more information, including how cholera bacteria can be transmitted, click Vibrio Cholerae.)