Cholera (Deadly Diseases and Epidemics) by William Coleman

By William Coleman

Cholera is without doubt one of the oldest recognized and best-understood infectious ailments. Thriving in unclean water, it is still a commonly used killer in international locations the place sanitary water resources are scarce. This booklet describes the background of this infectious affliction and discusses features that let the microorganism to reason critical illnesses.

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In addition to toxin, cholera bacilli have pili, the short hair-like a ppen d a ges on bacterial cells that are similar in stru ctu re to f l agella, but much shorter. They serve to help bacteria adhere to a su rf ace , and they may be sites for the attach m ent of 57 06 Cholera 054-063 58 2/15/08 8:06 AM Page 58 CHOLERA bacterial viruses in some cells. It is an important virulence factor for the cholera bacillus since it helps attach the bacteria to intestinal cells. The cholera bacillus has a sheathed flagellum at only one end, meaning it is single-polar.

SNOW’S DATA COLLECTION Dr. Snow began to take a close look at case studies of cholera. One case, that of John Harnold, a seaman who in the autumn of 1848 arrived in London by steamer from Hamburg, G ermany, was quite intriguing. Cholera was raging in Hamburg, and John Harnold was ill. He died of cholera within a few hours a f ter the first symptoms appe a red. Eight days later, a man who rented the room that Mr. Harnold had used also died of cholera. The doctor attending him, however, did not. Dr.

The first cholera pandemic occurred as a result of wars between Persia and Turkey when soldiers were traveling between their native lands and could unknowi n gly carry the disease with them . The second pandemic 37 04 Cholera 036-045 38 2/15/08 8:05 AM Page 38 CHOLERA is thought to have ori gi n a ted in Russia and spre ad to the Americas, reaching New York on June 23, 1832. The disease traveled to Philadelphia, and eventually to New Orleans. It was during this second pandemic, when it passed through London, that Dr.

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