Sunday 1 October 2017

Cholera outbreak kills over 2000 in Yemen.

The International Committee of the Red Cross reports that 2119 people have been confirmed dead in a Cholera outbreak in Yemen, with around 750 000 further cases suspected, and fears that the total number of people infected could pass a million by the end of the year. The situation is made worse by a highly destructive civil war which has been raging in the country since 2015, with very little cooperation between the waring factions and international aid agencies operating in the country.

Cholera victims in a hospital in Yemen. Mohammed Huwais/AFP.

Cholera is caused by the Bacterium Vibrio cholerae, a Gram-negative, comma-shaped Gammaproteobacteria, related to other pathogenic Bacteria such as Yersinia pestis (Bubonic Plague), and Esherchia coli (food poisoning). The Bacteria produce proteins which can cause watery diarrhoea, which helps spread the disease, and can prove fatal in severe cases, as patients are killed by extreme dehydration.

SEM image of Vibrio cholerae Bacteria. Kim et al. (2000).

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