Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Source of Haitian cholera outbreak uncovered

Date:
August 24, 2011
Source:
Northern Arizona University
Summary:
Employing technology that reads the entire DNA code, researchers have pinpointed the source of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that killed more than 6,000 people and sickened 300,000. Using whole genome sequencing, which spells out the billions of chemical bases in DNA, the team of researchers provided the strongest evidence yet that peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is widespread, brought the disease to Haiti.

Employing technology that reads the entire DNA code, researchers led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the Technical University of Denmark have pinpointed the source of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that killed more than 6,000 people and sickened 300,000.

Paul Keim, Regents Professor of biology at Northern Arizona University and director of the TGen Pathogen Genomics Division, served as senior molecular biologist on the study, and NAU's Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics also contributed.

Using whole genome sequencing, which spells out the billions of chemical bases in DNA, the team of researchers provided the strongest evidence yet that peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is widespread, brought the disease to Haiti. The Nepalese soldiers were responding to assist the island nation that was reeling from a devastating earthquake in January 2010 that killed more than 300,000.

In the new study researchers confirm the source of the cholera, and suggest how to prevent future outbreaks when international aid is rushed to disaster areas.

The study appeared on Aug. 23, in mBio, a new online-only, open-access journal published by the American Society of Microbiology in partnership with the American Academy of Microbiology.

"The great similarity of Haitian cholera with Nepalese cholera is based upon the highest resolution DNA methods available, and point to a probable source of this devastating disease outbreak," said Keim, who in 2001 assisted the FBI in tracking down the source of the anthrax letters case, which killed five people. He said similar genetic tracking techniques were used in investigating the Haitian cholera outbreak.

According to Keim, methods pioneered during the anthrax letter forensic investigation and today's greatly diminished costs for whole genome sequencing make it possible to apply this powerful technology to new and critical public health challenges.

Keim praised TGen's collaborators at the National Public Health Laboratory in Nepal, and at the National Food Institute in Denmark, where the study's senior author, Frank M. Aarestrup, is head of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Molecular Epidemiology Unit.

Lance Price, an associate professor at TGen and co-author of the new study, said the investigation into the source of Haitian cholera could help prevent such outbreaks in the future.

"This effort validates the power of advanced molecular tools in investigating outbreaks of this nature," Price said. "The goal now should be finding ways to prevent such outbreaks, perhaps through screening prior to deployment. This study is not about placing blame, it's about preventing such disasters in the future."

Researchers confirmed the source of the outbreak by comparing the DNA of 24 cholera samples (the bacterium Vibrio cholera) from five different districts in Nepal with 10 samples of cholera from Haiti. All 24 samples from Nepal matched the samples from Haiti. Some of the samples, the report said, "were almost identical."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northern Arizona University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. S. Hendriksen, L. B. Price, J. M. Schupp, J. D. Gillece, R. S. Kaas, D. M. Engelthaler, V. Bortolaia, T. Pearson, A. E. Waters, B. Prasad Upadhyay, S. Devi Shrestha, S. Adhikari, G. Shakya, P. S. Keim, F. M. Aarestrup. Population Genetics of Vibrio cholerae from Nepal in 2010: Evidence on the Origin of the Haitian Outbreak. mBio, 2011; 2 (4): e00157-11 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00157-11

Cite This Page:

Northern Arizona University. "Source of Haitian cholera outbreak uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824123128.htm>.
Northern Arizona University. (2011, August 24). Source of Haitian cholera outbreak uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824123128.htm
Northern Arizona University. "Source of Haitian cholera outbreak uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824123128.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) According to SEC filings, Yahoo gave ousted COO Henrique de Castro a $58 million severance package. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins