Rita Colwell leads team to discovery of two distinct strains of cholera contributing to 2010 Haitian outbreak

Mon Jun 18, 2012

An international team of scientists led by Rita Colwell (CBCB/UMIACS) and Claire Fraser (Institute for Genome Sciences, UM School of Medicine) with participation of several scientists at UMD, UMB, and CosmosID found that two distinct strains of bacteria may have contributed to the 2010 Haitian cholera outbreak. The team published its results in the June 18th issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This is an important finding because the previous work in this area by teams at Harvard and others had claimed the source of the Haiti cholera epidemic was due to Nepalese peacekeeping troops. The other team's work was based on the sequencing of only a few strains of Vibrio Cholerae from a very small sampling of patients. Colwell and her colleagues' efforts show that, based on the multiple strains of cholera found amongst the population in Haiti, the reality is much more complicated than simply blaming the Nepalese troops.

The full news release is here.

The full article is available here.