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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Although the disease, cholera, has been recognized since antiquity, the bacteria responsible for causing it was only discovered in the mid-19th century. Since 1817, cholera has spread on a global basis to cause seven pandemics. According to information reported to the World Health Organization in 1999, almost 8,500 people died and another 223,000 became sick with cholera worldwide. During the period between full outbreaks, the cholera organism, Vibrio cholerae, thrives in brackish waters, in harmless as well as disease-causing forms. Vibrio cholerae is just one of a variety of ocean-borne microbes that can sicken humans via seafood, drinking water, and swimming. Location, time, and intensity of cholera epidemics can now be accurately predicted from satellite observations of sea surface temperature, sea surface height, and chlorophyll in the water. Bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae have been found to be able to communicate with members of their own species and others to coordinate their behavior in response to cell density in a process known as quorum sensing, which relies on the production of and sensitivity to one or more secreted signal molecules. A growing body of scientific studies has identified a complex quorum sensing network in the human pathogen Vibrio cholerae. To gain a better understanding of this pathogen, this study provides an overview of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, the mechanism of its virulence, a discussion concerning the symptomatology of the bacterium and its epidemiology. An analysis of how quorum sensing influences the virulence of the bacterium is followed by a discussion of diagnostic and treatment considerations. A discussion of ongoing preventative measures is followed by a summary of the research and salient findings in the conclusion.

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