Bacteria Home > Vibrio Cholerae

Vibrio cholerae bacteria are typically responsible for the diarrheal illness called cholera. The two different types are Vibrio cholerae Serogroup O1 and Vibrio cholerae Serogroup non-O1. A person can get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with this bacteria.


What Is Vibrio Cholerae ?

Vibrio cholerae is a type of bacteria that cause cholera (an acute, diarrheal illness that can result in severe dehydration and even death within a matter of hours). These are Gram-negative rods (see Pictures of Cholera) that are facultatively anaerobic, which means they can survive either with or without oxygen.

Types of Vibrio Cholerae

There are two general types of Vibrio cholerae:
  • Vibrio cholerae Serogroup O1
  • Vibrio cholerae Serogroup non-O1.
Vibrio cholerae Serogroup O1 is the bacteria that is most often the cause of cholera. Vibrio cholerae Serogroup O139, a Vibrio cholerae Serogroup non-O1 bacterium, is the other cause of cholera. There are about 70 other species of Vibrio cholerae Serogroup non-O1; these other species rarely cause diarrhea.

How Common Is It?

The bacteria is native to the Ganges delta, which is in India and extends into Bangladesh. Since 1817, there have been seven worldwide pandemics. There is an ongoing global pandemic in Asia, Africa, and Latin America that has lasted more than four decades. Since 1995, over 80 percent of reported cases have occurred in Africa.
Vibrio cholerae infections have been rare in industrialized nations for the last 100 years. In the United States, there are zero to five cases per year.
In 2003, 111,575 cases from 45 countries were reported to the World Health Organization.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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