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Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Sep;9(9):1116-22.

Reemergence of epidemic Vibrio cholerae O139, Bangladesh.

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International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh.


During March and April 2002, a resurgence of Vibrio cholerae O139 occurred in Dhaka and adjoining areas of Bangladesh with an estimated 30,000 cases of cholera. Patients infected with O139 strains were much older than those infected with O1 strains (p<0.001). The reemerged O139 strains belong to a single ribotype corresponding to one of two ribotypes that caused the initial O139 outbreak in 1993. Unlike the strains of 1993, the recent strains are susceptible to trimethoprim, sulphamethoxazole, and streptomycin but resistant to nalidixic acid. The new O139 strains carry a copy of the Calcutta type CTX(Calc) prophage in addition to the CTX(ET) prophage carried by the previous strains. Thus, the O139 strains continue to evolve, and the adult population continues to be more susceptible to O139 cholera, which suggests a lack of adequate immunity against this serogroup. These findings emphasize the need for continuous monitoring of the new epidemic strains.

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