Volume 58, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


A total of 127 strains of Vibrio cholerae (117 V. cholerae O1 and 10 nonagglutinating strains) isolated from a recent cholera outbreak in Senegal and four strains isolated in Guinea-Bissau (during the survey of a cholera epidemic that occurred 10 months before the Senegalese one) were analyzed. Strains were characterized by conventional methods (biochemical and serologic identification, susceptibility to antimicrobial agents), polymerase chain reaction for genes encoding cholera toxin (CtxA), zonula occludens toxin (Zot), and accessory cholera enterotoxin (Ace), and by ribotyping. Conventional methods showed that all strains of V. cholerae O1 belonged to serotype Ogawa, biotype El Tor and were resistant to the vibriostatic agent O129 (2,4-diamino 6,7-diisopropylpteridine phosphate), cotrimoxazole, and chloramphenicol; all strains were sensitive to tetracycline, a drug that has been extensively used in cholera therapy. Most of these V. cholerae O1 (112 strains from Senegal and four strains from Guinea-Bissau) had an intact core region (virulence cassette) and amplified a 564-basepair (bp) fragment of ctxA, a 1083-bp fragment of zot, and a 314-bp fragment of ace. Ribotyping of V. cholerae O1 strains after Bgl I restriction of total DNA revealed that ribotype B5a, which is the predominant ribotype of this seventh pandemic of cholera, was not isolated. Instead, a new ribotype was identified and designated B27 in our data bank. Since O1 isolates from Guinea-Bissau and Senegal have the same biotype, serotype, and ribotype and as the Guinea-Bissau outbreak that preceded the one in Senegal, this emerging ribotype probably came from Guinea-Bissau. Nonagglutinating strains exhibited no resistance to the O129 agent and to the tested antibiotics, they were all negative for virulence cassette, except for one strain with the ctxA and zot genes isolated from a patient with diarrhea, and there was a great variability of ribotypes among these strains. There was no difference between environmental O1 strains isolated from water and strains isolated from patients with cholera, suggesting that fecally contaminated water is an important reservoir for infection.


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