The bacterium Vibrio cholerae is a natural inhabitant of aquatic ecosystems across the planet. V. cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 are responsible for cholera outbreaks in developing countries accounting for 3-5 million infections worldwide and 28.800-130.000 deaths per year according to the World Health Organization. In contrast, V. cholerae serogroups other than O1 and O139, also designated as V. cholerae non-O1/O139 (NOVC), are not associated with epidemic cholera but can cause other illnesses that may range in severity from mild (e.g. gastroenteritis, otitis, etc.) to life-threatening (e.g. necrotizing fasciitis). Although generally neglected, NOVC-related infections are on the rise and represent one of the most striking examples of emerging human diseases linked to climate change. NOVC strains are also believed to potentially contribute to the emergence of new pathogenic strains including strains with epidemic potential as a direct consequence of genetic exchange mechanisms such as horizontal gene transfer and genetic recombination. Besides general features concerning the biology and ecology of NOVC strains and their associated diseases, this review aims to highlight the most relevant aspects related to the emergence and potential threat posed by NOVC strains under a rapidly changing environmental and climatic scenario.
- Climate Change
- Disease Outbreaks
- Gene Transfer, Horizontal
- Vibrio Infections/microbiology
- Vibrio cholerae non-O1/classification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics