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July 2, 2015

SLCoHD Rules Out Cholera Disease in Two Symptomatic Patients

Pam Davenport - Email

Nicholas Rupp - Email

(Salt Lake County)—The Salt Lake County Health Department has determined that the county’s two cases of suspected cholera are in fact vibriosis, a related disease that presents symptoms similar to cholera but is less infectious.

Both cholera disease and vibriosis are caused by the bacterium vibrio cholerae. Some strains of v. cholerae cause cholera disease and are to blame for the cholera outbreaks known throughout history and in present-day developing nations; lab tests have determined that the two symptomatic patients in Salt Lake County do not have these outbreak-related strains of the bacteria. Instead, they have a strain that causes vibriosis.

Vibriosis results in watery, sometimes bloody, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and headache. The symptoms are usually self-limiting and last for 2 to 3 days. Vibriosis treatment is primarily for dehydration.

Vibriosis results in an estimated 185 hospitalizations and 57 deaths in the United States each year. Vibriosis-causing strains of the bacteria are natural inhabitants of marine coastal environments, and their populations increase dramatically during the warm summer months.

Consuming raw, undercooked, or cross-contaminated seafood, especially shellfish, is the most common cause of vibriosis, but exposure to contaminated water can also cause infection.

The Salt Lake County Health Department continues to investigate the cause of these two recent cases of vibriosis, but health officials have determined that there is currently no indication of a threat to the public.

Salt Lake County last had confirmed cases of vibriosis in 2014, 2011, and 2009.