Vibrio cholerae has caused seven global pandemics to date. The ongoing pandemic, caused by Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 El Tor, has been the most extensive in geographical spread and duration. It began in 1961 in Indonesia spreading through Asia and the Middle East and finally reaching Sub Saharan West Africa at the early 1970s. In the first year of the pandemic alone, over 150,000 cases and more than 20,000 deaths were recorded. V. cholerae is currently responsible for several outbreaks in Africa, some with a reported high mortality rate. Although extensive characterization has been carried out on epidemic strains in Asia, little information is available regarding the characteristics of the African outbreak strains. The aim of the present study is to characterize at the genotypic level the strains that are part of several outbreaks that occurred in Africa during 2007. Molecular techniques are used in order to evaluate a reliable tool that can be used to relate/discriminate the V. cholerae isolates obtained from diverse geographical areas. This study investigated whether a diverse group or a dominant clone is responsible for the spread of the reported cholera outbreaks. Eighty isolates of V. cholerae were phenotypically characterized using conventional microbiological procedures such as biochemical testing, and confirmed serologically by the slide agglutination test using specific antiserum to V. cholerae polyvalent O1 as well as serotype specific antisera for Inaba and Ogawa subtypes. Molecular characterization of strains was performed by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), multilocus variable tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), mulitlocus sequence typing (MLST), and DNA sequencing for several virulent genetic elements such as the cholera toxin.


School of Sciences and Engineering

Degree Name

MS in Biology

First Advisor

Siam, Rania

Committee Member 1

Klena, John

Committee Member 2

Fouad, Salwa

Document Type



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