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The Role of Cyanobacteria Blooms in Cholera Epidemic in Bangladesh

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Author(s): Md. Sagir Ahmed | Md. Raknuzzaman | Hafeza Akther | Sumaiya Ahmed

Journal: Journal of Applied Sciences
ISSN 1812-5654

Volume: 7;
Issue: 13;
Start page: 1785;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: microcystin | Vibrio cholerae | cholera | Cyanobacteria | Buriganga | Bangladesh

ABSTRACT
A study was conducted on association of Vibrio cholerae with plankton specially emphasis on cyanobacteria in relation to some physico-chemical parameters in the River Buriganga, Dhaka, from January to December 2002. Monthly abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton varied from 457 to 14166 and from 169 to 1055 individual L-1, respectively. Monthly average of faecal coliform in water, zooplankton and phytoplankton samples were 3.99x109, 4.54x103 and 4.28x102 (CFU L-1), respectively. During epidemics, toxigenic V. cholerae 01 and 0139 were isolated from the patients as well as from the surface water. V. cholerae 01 and 0139 were also isolated from plankton samples. More over, it was observed that ctx (cholera toxic) positive in water and phytoplankton samples of the river. A bloom of Oscillatoria sp. (1.6x104 individual L-1) occurred in the upper reaches of the River Buriganga in May 2002. Methanol-water extract of bloom sample was analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography with UV detection and Mass Spectrum (MS) detected microcystin-RR. Cyanobacteria are abundant in the aquatic environment of Bangladesh and it was established that V. cholerae maintain a symbiotic relationship with these algae particularly mucilaginous cyanobacteria. During epidemics, patients symptoms included diarrhea, vomiting and hemorrhagic enteritis and in severe cases hemorrhagic diarrhea. So, question has arisen that which is responsible, microcystins or cholera for death of cholera/diarrhea patients in Bangladesh. Future research should be directed to isolate microcystins and cholera toxins from the epidemic areas to clarify the fact.
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