Cholera and other vibrioses in the United States

J. G. Morris, Robert E Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cholera is no stranger to the United States. Cases were identified in this country during four of the seven worldwide cholera pandemics that have occurred since 1817: over 150,000 Americans died in 1832 and 1849 when the protracted second cholera pandemic twice visited the United States; 50,000 died in 1866 during the fourth pandemic; and cases were reported in New York and Massachusetts in 1911, during the sixth pandemic. Within the past decade cases have again been reported in the United States, and cholera is now apparently endemic along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Vibrio species other than Vibrio cholerae have also been associated with human disease: 10 pathogenic (or potentially pathogenic) species are currently recognized (Table 1), including 6 that have been named since 1979. All 10 species have been isolated from U.S. patients. In the past few years we have acquired some understanding of the epidemiologic and clinical features of illnesses associated with vibrio species; we are just beginning to appreciate the mechanisms by which they cause disease. Vibrios are actively motile, gram-negative, curved, rod-shaped bacteria. Most if not all species are free living in marine or brackish water; vibrio-associated illness has tended to occur in coastal areas in the summer and fall (when the water is warmer and vibrio counts are higher) and to be associated with seafood or sea water. V. cholerae O group 1 can cause profuse, watery diarrhea and life-threatening dehydration (cholera); gastrointestinal illness has also been associated with strains of V. cholerae of O groups other than 1, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio fluvialis, Vibrio mimicus, Vibrio hollisae, and Vibrio furnissii. Vibrio vulnificus can cause severe wound infections and a 'primary septicemia' syndrome that has a mortality rate approaching 50 per cent; Vibrioalginolyticus, Vibrio damsela, and Vibrio metschnikovii have been associated with wound and ear infections and with septicemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-350
Number of pages8
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume312
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Vibrio
Cholera
Pandemics
Vibrio cholerae
Wound Infection
Vibrio mimicus
Sepsis
Vibrio vulnificus
Vibrio parahaemolyticus
Seafood
Seawater
Dehydration
Ear
Diarrhea
Bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Cholera and other vibrioses in the United States. / Morris, J. G.; Black, Robert E.

In: New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 312, No. 6, 1985, p. 343-350.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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