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.

Related Articles


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 March 5, 2015 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 March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Analysis: Supreme Court Hears ACA Challenge

Analysis: Supreme Court Hears ACA Challenge

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Associated Press legal reporter Mark Sherman breaks down the details of the latest Affordable Care Act challenge to make it to the Supreme Court. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Greenpeace Activists Protest French Imports of Illegal Logs

Greenpeace Activists Protest French Imports of Illegal Logs

AFP (Mar. 4, 2015) Greenpeace activists deliver a four tonne log to the Ministry of Ecology to protest against imports of illegal wood. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obamacare's New Supreme Court Battle

Obamacare's New Supreme Court Battle

Washington Post (Mar. 4, 2015) The Affordable Care Act is facing another challenge at the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, which deals with subsidies for health insurance. The case could cut out a major provision of Obamacare, causing the law to unravel. Here’s what you need to know about the case. Video provided by Washington Post
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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