In Wuhan, China, cholera-causing bacteria in turtles are hitting nerves


Wuhan has not yet disclosed the sources of the bacteria for the student and the samples. (File)


Detection in the Chinese city of Wuhan of a bacterium that caused cholera in a student and was found singly in samples of softshell turtles at a food market has struck a chord with ordinary Chinese, with some linking it to COVID-19.

The food market where samples of softshell turtles tested positive for the pathogen that can cause cholera has been disinfected, local authorities said late Thursday.

While no human case of cholera was found among people who came into contact with the softshell turtles, the particular store that sold them was ordered to close for three days.

Authorities said the strain of vibrio cholerae O139 for the student’s infection, announced on Monday, and the contaminated samples are unrelated.

Officials are also tracking unspecified products from the same batch as the softshell turtles shipped elsewhere, the disease control authority in Wuhan’s Hongshan district said.

Despite the lack of solid signs of a cholera outbreak, internet users worried about another disease outbreak still made this issue one of the most trending topics on China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo Friday, with 200 million reads. .

The earliest COVID-19 infections in late 2019 were initially linked to a local market in Wuhan that also sold seafood and fish products. The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 remains a mystery and a major source of tension between China and the United States.

“Take the lesson from COVID and hurry up with source tracking to secure evidence!!!” wrote one Weibo user.

Reports of cholera, an acute watery diarrheal disease that can be potentially fatal if not treated promptly and usually associated with contaminated food or water, are rare in mainland China, with five cases reported in 2021 and 11 in 2020, but no deaths.

“The detection of Vibrio cholerae O139…a further reminder that wet markets, while culturally and economically important in Asia, pose several public health risks,” said Andrew Greenhill, a professor of microbiology at Federation University Australia.

At the moment there is no major cause for concern, while ongoing surveillance is important, Greenhill said, adding that O139 has been detected in several other countries and that major cholera outbreaks are unlikely in locations with safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

“In fact, detecting the strain shows that it is being monitored, which can only be considered positive.”

Wuhan, with a population of more than 12 million, said Monday that the case of cholera in a local university student caused no further infections.

Wuhan has not yet disclosed sources of the bacteria for the student and the samples, or details on the progress of source tracing.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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