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Bacteria taken from sick World War I soldier may reveal clues about cholera epidemic

WWI coincided with an historical global cholera pandemic, known as the sixth pandemic, which was caused by ‘classical’ V cholerae.

LONDON: Scientists have mapped the genetic code of cholera-causing bacteria that infected a British soldier during First World War, which may help unveil how the disease evolved over time.

The oldest publicly-available strain of Vibrio cholerae was stored for over 100 years before being revived and sequenced.

The results, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that this strain is a unique, non-toxigenic strain of V cholerae that is distantly related to the strains of bacteria causing cholera pandemics today and in the past.

Cholera is a severe diarrhoeal disease caused by ingesting food or water that is contaminated with toxigenic V cholerae.

The disease can spread rapidly in epidemics and in global pandemics.

WWI coincided with an historical global cholera pandemic, known as the sixth pandemic, which was caused by ‘classical’ V cholerae.

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DylanThomas

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