Journal of Undergraduate Research


vibrio cholera, disease, cholera, water purification techniques


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Cholera, the Disease: Cholera is a disease that affects three to five million people each year with approximately 100,000 deaths. Transmitted mainly by the drinking-­‐water supply, it causes an infection in the small intestine leading to severe diarrhea and vomiting. If left untreated, it can cause death within hours. The disease is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae which was first isolated by Filippo Pacini in 1854. Vibrio cholerae is gram negative, comma shaped, and flagellated. It is easily treated with modern water purification techniques, and as such it is most prevalent in developing countries that lack this infrastructure. Countries that are recovering from natural disasters are especially vulnerable. One of the first documented outbreaks occurred in 1817 near the Ganges River. British trade ships unknowingly spread the disease by transporting infected bilgewater from the Bay of Bengal. Several major outbreaks followed in places including as London, New York, and several parts of Russia. What is needed is a safe, cheap way to detect and destroy cholera in water. Our solution: using the natural mechanisms of quorum sensing, phage, and biofilm inhibitors to purify contaminated water sources.

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