Abstract:

Cholera is still a killing disease in Bangladesh and other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Cholera epidemics occur twice every year in Bangladesh and maintain a seasonal pattern. Vibrio cholerae O1 could be isolated from patient’s stool and the environmental water during cholera seasons. However when the epidemic is over, the organism could not be isolated from the water until the next season. Therefore the question where do the bacteria go and hide and what is the inter-epidemic reservoir of cholera? This bacterium was discovered in 1884 and since then these question has been puzzling the Scientists. As cholera is a waterborne disease, scientists investigated all kinds of aquatic fauna including crab, snail, oyster, zooplankton, fish etc. but could not come up with any conclusive evidence that aquatic fauna can act as an inter-epidemic reservoir of cholera. About 100 years later, we hypothesized that there are numerous aquatic flora (plants) in the aquatic ecosystems and they can act as inter-epidemic reservoirs. Based on this hypothesis, we investigated the association of aquatic plants and the bacterium. Finally we discovered that a blue green alga, Anabina variabilis could act as an inter- epidemic reservoir. This is the first time, blue green algae was shown as the inter- epidemic reservoir. After the discovery of algae as reservoir, we tried to find out how the disease could be eradicated from Bangladesh by applying point of use water treatment strategy. Finally, we have been able to develop a mixture consisted of alum potash, bleaching powder, lime and some chemicals from the laboratory which is called “Siraj Mixture” by which the contaminated surface water could be decontaminated. This mixture cost only TK. 2.00 (US $0.01) and can purify 15 liters of surface water within 30 minutes. Field trial was conducted to see the acceptability and effectiveness of this mixture in a cholera endemic area in Bangladesh in 420 families who were provided the mixture with appropriate control for one year. Those families except one who used the mixture did not contract cholera. The innovation of the mixture is a simple solution for prevention of cholera in Bangladesh. Therefore discovery of inter-epidemic reservoir and innovation of the novel mixture are significant achievements in the history of cholera research.

Biography:

Cholera is still a killing disease in Bangladesh and other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Cholera epidemics occur twice every year in Bangladesh and maintain a seasonal pattern. Vibrio cholerae O1 could be isolated from patient’s stool and the environmental water during cholera seasons. However when the epidemic is over, the organism could not be isolated from the water until the next season. Therefore the question where do the bacteria go and hide and what is the inter-epidemic reservoir of cholera? This bacterium was discovered in 1884 and since then these question has been puzzling the Scientists. As cholera is a waterborne disease, scientists investigated all kinds of aquatic fauna including crab, snail, oyster, zooplankton, fish etc. but could not come up with any conclusive evidence that aquatic fauna can act as an inter-epidemic reservoir of cholera. About 100 years later, we hypothesized that there are numerous aquatic flora (plants) in the aquatic ecosystems and they can act as inter-epidemic reservoirs. Based on this hypothesis, we investigated the association of aquatic plants and the bacterium. Finally we discovered that a blue green alga, Anabina variabilis could act as an inter- epidemic reservoir. This is the first time, blue green algae was shown as the inter- epidemic reservoir. After the discovery of algae as reservoir, we tried to find out how the disease could be eradicated from Bangladesh by applying point of use water treatment strategy. Finally, we have been able to develop a mixture consisted of alum potash, bleaching powder, lime and some chemicals from the laboratory which is called “Siraj Mixture” by which the contaminated surface water could be decontaminated. This mixture cost only TK. 2.00 (US $0.01) and can purify 15 liters of surface water within 30 minutes. Field trial was conducted to see the acceptability and effectiveness of this mixture in a cholera endemic area in Bangladesh in 420 families who were provided the mixture with appropriate control for one year. Those families except one who used the mixture did not contract cholera. The innovation of the mixture is a simple solution for prevention of cholera in Bangladesh. Therefore discovery of inter-epidemic reservoir and innovation of the novel mixture are significant achievements in the history of cholera research.

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