Cholera can kill within hours if left untreated, and it sickens as many as 4 million people a year. In a new article in the journal Cell , researchers describe how gut bacteria helps people resist the disease.
Bacteria live everywhere on the planet—even inside the human body . UCR microbiologist Ansel Hsiao studies whether the bacteria living in our bodies, collectively known as the human microbiome , can protect people from diseases caused by external bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae , which lives in waterways and causes cholera.
Hsiao’s team examined the gut microbiomes from people in Bangladesh, where many suffer from cholera as a result of contaminated food, water and poor sanitation infrastructure.
“When people get sick, the diarrhea gets flushed into water systems that people drink from, and it’s a negative cycle,” Hsiao explained.
His team wanted to see whether prior infections or other stresses, like malnutrition, make people more vulnerable, as compared to Americans who don’t face these same pressures.
The findings surprised the group, which expected stressed Bangladeshi microbiomes would allow for higher rates of infection. Instead, they saw infection rates varied […]
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