Consecutive outbreaks of vibrio cholerae O139 and V. cholerae O1 cholera in a fishing village near Karachi, Pakistan

FJ Siddiqui, Aga Khan University
NS Bhutto
Seidlein L Von
I Khurram
S Rasool
M Ali
Afia Zafar, Aga Khan University
JL Deen
JD Clemens
Q Nizami
Zulfiqar Bhutta, Aga Khan University


In July 2002 and June 2003, cholera outbreaks were detected by a diarrhoea surveillance system in a village outside Karachi, Pakistan. Specimens were culture confirmed. The first outbreak was caused by Vibrio cholerae O139 (n = 30) and the second outbreak by V. cholerae O1 (n = 39). Demographic and clinical features of patients were recorded and case-control studies were conducted following each outbreak. Clinical information was obtained for 29 of the 30 patients in the first outbreak, and 2 of the patients in the second outbreak were either out of the area or lost to follow-up, leaving 29 and 37 cases in the analysis for the first and second outbreak, respectively. Eighteen (49%) of the 37 V. cholerae O1 patients were under 2 years of age compared with 6 (21%) of the 29 V. cholerae O139 patients (P = 0.02). Vibrio cholerae O139-infected patients were more likely to be febrile (16/29) than those infected with V. cholerae O1 (2/37; P<0.001). A household contact with cholera was a risk factor in both outbreaks; water source was a risk factor in the first outbreak only. Geographically, cases were clustered during the first outbreak but not during the second. Person-to-person contact and water reservoirs appear to be the main transmission routes for cholera in this setting.