During the present cholera pandemic the El Tor biotype of Vibrio cholerae has completely displaced the classic biotype, except in Bangladesh. We studied the distribution of these two biotypes in twenty-four rural districts during epidemics in 1988-89; there was clustering of the classic biotype in the southern region and of the El Tor biotype in all other regions. These findings suggest that the southern coastal region is now (and may always have been) the habitat of classic cholera. The selective distribution of V cholerae 01 biotypes in Bangladesh may have been affected by ecological changes occurring in the country.
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