February 9, 2011
Toward A Fast, Simple Test For Detecting Cholera Rampaging In 40 Countries
With cholera on the rampage in Haiti and almost 40 other countries, scientists are reporting the development of a key advance that could provide a fast, simple test to detect the toxin that causes the disease. The report appears in ACS' journal Bioconjugate Chemistry. Cholera affects more than 200,000 people annually, mainly in developing countries, and causes about 5,000 deaths. Many involve infants, children, and the elderly.
J. Manuel Perez and colleagues note that cholera is an intestinal infection from food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It produces a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea, which can lead to rapid dehydration and death. Prompt treatment thus is essential, and yet existing tests to diagnose cholera are time-consuming, expensive, and require the use of complex equipment.
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