Bangladesh Cholera Linked to Rivers

BOSTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve discovered why cholera outbreaks that occur once a year in Africa and Latin America occur twice a year in Bangladesh.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, scientists said. But they have tried, without much success, to determine the cause of the unique dual outbreaks in Bangladesh.

Researchers from Tufts University, led by Professor Shafiqul Islam, say they have found a link between cholera and fluctuating water levels in the region’s three principal rivers — the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna.

“What we are establishing is a way to predict cholera outbreaks two to three months in advance,” Islam said. “It’s not a microbiological explanation. The key is the river discharge and regional climate.”

The study’s findings are reported in the Oct. 10 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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