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Toxigenic isolates of Vibrio cholerae produce a severe, dehydrating form of diarrhea not usually seen in the United States. The diarrhea can lead to progressive dehydration and death. Cholera is not normally transmitted in the U.S. because of high levels of water chlorination and a well-established sanitation infrastructure. Because V. cholerae is rarely identified in clinical laboratories and because of the large number of aid workers traveling to Haiti where the outbreak of cholera is ongoing, this information is being provided to assist microbiologists in the identification of potential isolates of V. cholerae.

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