Integrated view of Vibrio cholerae in the Americas

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Abstract

Latin America has experienced two of the largest cholera epidemics in modern history; one in 1991 and the other in 2010. However, confusion still surrounds the relationships between globally circulating pandemic Vibrio cholerae clones and local bacterial populations. We used whole-genome sequencing to characterize cholera across the Americas over a 40-year time span. We found that both epidemics were the result of intercontinental introductions of seventh pandemic El Tor V. cholerae and that at least seven lineages local to the Americas are associated with disease that differs epidemiologically from epidemic cholera. Our results consolidate historical accounts of pandemic cholera with data to show the importance of local lineages, presenting an integrated view of cholera that is important to the design of future disease control strategies.

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