For several hours, the health authorities thought they were dealing with the first case of cholera, not imported, for more than 40 years, reports “El País”.
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A first for over 40 years. According to Spanish newspaper El País, a teenage girl residing in the province of Castile was infected with the cholera-like bacteria after consuming tap water from a farm where she lived on Wednesday, June 22. According to the health authorities, the young girl would not have contracted cholera itself, the pathogen found did not produce the toxins responsible for diarrhea and other symptoms. “Therefore, he is not considered a case of cholera, but of vibrio gastroenteritis,” the health ministry said. Although it is not a confirmed case of cholera, suspected for several hours, this type of infection is very rare in Spain.
There has not been any indigenous case of cholera on Spanish soil since 1979, hence the responsiveness of the health authorities. “This is not a serious case, despite this the farm has been closed to ensure that there are no more risks for the population”, explained a spokesperson for the local authorities, before knowing that the pathogen detected was devoid of the toxin responsible for cholera. As a reminder, cholera – caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae – causes diarrhea, cramps and general weakness in humans.
Overall, the disease is often mild and carriers of the disease may be asymptomatic. However, it is considered very dangerous for the most fragile – young children and the elderly. This is due to a loss of large quantities of fluids and mineral salts. These losses are caused by the presence of a toxin normally produced by the bacteria mentioned above. In the case diagnosed on Wednesday, this is not present. Without it, Vibrio cholerae causes sometimes serious gastrointestinal problems, but patients are not considered to have cholera. These infections are exceptional in Spain.
The last epidemic in Spain dates back to 1979
Generally, cholera is transmitted during contact with a patient – symptomatic or not – or by the consumption of water but also of food that may have been contaminated with the bacteria. A mode of transmission which explains why this disease is today particularly present in the least developed countries. According to the World Health Organization, up to 4 million cases are diagnosed each year.