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To Track Cholera

In an editorial, Nature calls for genome sequencing to be folded into the World Health Organization's cholera surveillance approach.

Researchers from the Pasteur Institute and their colleagues recently reported in Nature on their efforts to sequence the on-going cholera outbreak in Yemen. The team found that the Vibrio cholerae strain behind the Yemen outbreak is from a sublineage that originated in South Asia and that caused outbreaks in East Africa before being introduced to Yemen.

That and other studies have suggested that, Nature notes, many new cholera strains emerge in south Asia. It argues that by adding genomics more formally into the cholera surveillance toolkit, it would provide a more global perspective by enabling the agency to have near real-time data on the emergence and circulation of cholera strains, something it says the agency already does for influenza.

"Through genomics, nations have much to gain in terms of improving understanding of cholera and being able to curb it," Nature argues. "And that helps to build a more complete picture of the global spread and dynamics of this horrible disease."