FYI from the WHO gopher ...... gopher.who.ch
Press Release WHO/61 - 25 July 1994
CHOLERA STRAIN ON RWANDA-ZAIRE BORDER IDENTIFIED
Based on the results of laboratory tests, the World Health
Organization (WHO) confirms that the massive cholera outbreak now
occurring in Rwanda and along the Rwanda-Zaire border is caused by
the germ Vibrio cholerae serogroup 01, serotype Ogawa, biotype El
Tests have revealed this strain to be highly resistant to
antibiotics normally recommended for the treatment of cholera, such
as tetracycline. WHO has designated furazolidone as the appropriate
and recommended antibiotic in this case. It is safe for all groups
including children and pregnant women. Antibiotics treatment is
reserved for the most severely affected patients only.
"Antibiotics will help in the present crisis, but we must
stress, once again, that rehydration therapy is what is required in
the vast majority of cases", says Dr Maria Neira, Coordinator of
WHO's Global Task Force on Cholera.
"Cholera is only one of the deadly epidemics which threatens
Rwandan refugees in the current crisis. Under the circumstances now
prevailing along the Rwanda-Zaire border, dysentery, measles,
pneumonia and meningitis are all potential mass killers", says Dr
David Robinson, WHO epidemiologist designated as the Organization's
team leader on the spot.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by a bacterium
called Vibrio cholerae. The bacterium responsible for the seventh
pandemic, which is now in progress, takes its name from the El Tor
quarantine camp in Sinai, Egypt, where it was first isolated. The
current pandemic began in 1961 in the Celebes (Sulawesi), Indonesia.
It reached the African continent in 1970.