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Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute have mapped the genetic code of the oldest publicly-available strain of cholera. The bacterium came from a British soldier from World War One (WWI).
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strains of the V. cholerae bacterium caused by ingesting contaminated food or water. The disease can lead to epidemics or even global pandemics.
During WWI a historical global cholera pandemic, known as the sixth pandemic, occurred. It was during this period that the now mapped strain was collected and stored.
In 1916, a strain was extracted from the stool of a British soldier. The bacterium was then deposited in the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC)* in 1920.
The oldest publicly-available V. cholerae
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