Header Image A Far-ranging Impact: Cholera

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Cholera is an infectious disease that spreads in countries without clean drinking water or adequate sewage disposal. The bacterium causing the disease was identified in 1884. How it causes disease was discovered almost 100 years later.

A toxin produced by the bacterium changes the G-proteins in cells lining the intestine. The G-proteins become "stuck" in the activated—or turned on—state. They can't turn themselves off as they do when normally regulated. The effect is that water is pumped continuously out of the cells into the intestines, causing dangerously severe diarrhea.

What Causes Cholera. A diagram.  Click on Image to see larger image.

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