Posted On 16 Dec 2015
In the Biomedicine Area of the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (Espol), in Guayaquil, at least 300 samples of the vibrio cholerae bacteria,which causes cholera, rest.
Researcher Eunice Ordóñez, pulled out a sample processed in a centrifuge and then stored it in a freezer at – 20 ° C. “But they are harmless -she says while showing the yellowish liquid sample.- Toxigenic Agents were no detected in the samples, which are the cause of infections.”
Although the last five cases of this acute diarrheal disease–according to the Ministry of Health – were reported in 2004, alerts are on before the announcement of the arrival of El Niño phenomenon. Espol scientists, since last year, joined the Syracuse University (New York) in a project that includes analyzing water from four estuary zones in Machala (El Oro), in the South of the country.
The director of the biomedicine laboratory, Washington Cardenas, explains that this research seeks to obtain information based on the natural presence of the bacteria in the environment and assess any possible mutations, which may occur during El Niño. The vibrio cholerae was found in samples of Machala. But Cardenas stressed that there is no risk, because they are not infectious. “The bacteria is normally found in the estuaries, is part of the natural flora -he explains.-
It only becomes infectious when, by a number of environmental factors, it is attacked by bacteriophages viruses. A symbiosis may then arise and the virus produces a toxin which helps the bacteria to infect. Epidemics appear this way.”
That is the theory of large outbreaks of years 1991-1992 and 1997-1998 in the Americas, also influenced by migratory movements.