Vibrio Cholera O1 and O139

Pathogen Info

Vibrio cholera is a species of bacteria. Some strains of Vibrio cholerae cause cholera, a severe diarrheal illness. Vibrio cholera has many different types or serogroups, only two of which can cause epidemic cholera. Those two serogroups are called serogroup O1 and serogroup O139 (O139 is found only in Asia) and can cause epidemic cholera if they also produce the cholera toxin.
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People with gastroenteritis caused by non-O1, non-O139 Vibrio cholerae can have symptoms of differing severity ranging from mild diarrhea to severe watery diarrhea. Fever and bloody diarrhea are not typically seen in gastroenteritis due to non-O1, non-O139 Vibrio cholerae infection.
Sepsis due to non-O1 and non-O139 Vibrio cholerae is seen in immunocompromised people and in people with liver disease. Its symptoms include fevers, chills, and decreased blood pressure (shock).
Non-O1 and non-0139 Vibrio cholerae has occasionally been reported to cause wound infections with redness and swelling at the site of infection.


The non-O1 and non-O139 Vibrio cholerae bacteria have a natural reservoir in sea and coastal waters. In the US, transmission of Vibrio infections is primarily through eating raw or undercooked seafood, especially oysters. Contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill. Occasionally, wounds exposed to water containing Vibrio cholerae may become infected.


If you have an open wound, you shouldn't swim in the ocean. It is important to thoroughly cook all seafood.


Diarrhea caused by Vibrio cholerae is treatable, primarily by rehydration, and antibiotic therapy. The most important treatment is to replace the fluids and electrolytes that have been lost due to diarrhea. This is done either through oral fluid rehydration or, in severe cases, intravenous fluid rehydration. In many cases, antibiotics are used to hasten the recovery, but they do not take the place of early and appropriate rehydration therapy. Wounds exposed to seawater should be washed with soap and water as soon as possible, and infected wounds should be evaluated by a health care provider. Wounds that become infected and sepsis should be treated with antibiotics. There is no known vaccine for Vibrio Cholerae.


Vibrio Cholerae is a minor illness, and once you recover you shouldn't expect long-term consequences.