Query: NC_002505:514732 Vibrio cholerae O1 biovar eltor str. N16961 chromosome I, complete Lineage: Vibrio cholerae; Vibrio; Vibrionaceae; Vibrionales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: This is an epidemic serogroup of Vibrio cholerae isolated in 1971 in Bangladesh and is distinguished from the classical biotype due to hemolysin production. This genus is abundant in marine or freshwater environments such as estuaries, brackish ponds, or coastal areas; regions that provide an important reservoir for the organism in between outbreaks of the disease. Vibrio can affect shellfish, finfish, and other marine animals and a number of species are pathogenic for humans. Vibrio cholerae can colonize the mucosal surface of the small intestines of humans where it will cause cholera, a severe and sudden onset diarrheal disease. One famous outbreak was traced to a contaminated well in London in 1854 by John Snow, and epidemics, which can occur with extreme rapidity, are often associated with conditions of poor sanitation. The disease has a high lethality if left untreated, and millions have died over the centuries. There have been seven major pandemics between 1817 and today. Six were attributed to the classical biotype, while the 7th, which started in 1961, is associated with the El Tor biotype.
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General Information: This strain (strain BS512; serotype 18) was originally isolated from a 12-year-old boy in Arizona, USA by Dr. Nancy Stockbine. It is a member of Group 1 as determined by limited sequence analysis and can invade HeLa cells. Pathogenicity and virulence have been verified during in vitro experimentation, and multiple plasmids are present in this strain. This genus is named for the Japanese scientist (Shiga) who first discovered these organisms in the 1890s. They are closely related to the Escherichia group, and may be considered the same species. These organisms are human-specific pathogens that are transmitted via contaminated food and water and are the leading causes of endemic bacillary dysentery, causing over 160 million cases of infection and 1 million deaths yearly worldwide. The bacteria infect the epithelial lining of the colon, causing acute inflammation by entering the host cell cytoplasm and spreading intercellularly. Shigella spp. are extremely virulent organisms that can cause an active infection after a very low exposure. Both the type III secretion system, which delivers effector molecules into the host cell, and some of the translocated effectors such as the invasion plasmid antigens (Ipas), are encoded on the plasmid. The bacterium produces a surface protein that localizes to one pole of the cell (IcsA) which binds to and promotes actin polymerization, resulting in movement of the bacterium through the cell cytoplasm, and eventually to neighboring cells, which results in inflammatory destruction of the mucosal lining. This species is uncommon except in India, where it was first isolated. Progression to clinical dysentery occurs in most patients infected with this organism.