Medicine: Cholera on the March

Few diseases are more feared than cholera, which in past centuries has decimated whole populations. Cholera is endemic to many Asian nations, where sanitation is poor and water supplies are contaminated. But the disease also maintains a tenuous toehold in the West. Last week it was frightening Italy, where the death toll had risen to at least 21, and threatening other European countries as well.

Their concern is well founded, because the effects of cholera can be catastrophic. The disease is caused by comma-shaped bacteria that thrive in contaminated water supplies. The bugs do even better in the human intestine.

There they multiply...

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