Epidemiological and bacteriological features of the cholera outbreak in Iran (2005)
During the summer of 2005, an outbreak of cholera struck Iran, infecting 1118 individuals and killing 11 patients. The epidemic started from the Southern regions and rapidly disseminated across the country. In spite of early confirmation of the epidemic and emergent actions by the Ministry of Health, the disease continued to spread during the first few weeks. Unlike most previous epidemics in Iran and other countries in the region, which were caused by Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype E1 Tor serotype Ogawa, the most common causative agent was identified to be the Inaba serotype. The likely source of the disease came from the neighboring countries; examination of drinking water, irrigation water and agricultural products showed that consumption of raw unclean vegetables was the most common route of transmission. The outbreak frightened millions of Iranian citizens and caused millions of dollars in economic damage. The question is how we can predict and prevent possible future cholera epidemics and what we should do when they occur.