Cholera Prevention is Difficult for Blood Group O

According to a new study, people with blood group O are likely to get more severely affected by Vibrio cholerae   bacteria than people with other blood type. In spite of adopting various cholera prevention measures, there seem to have no significant effect. May be the incidence of cholera has reduced, but studies reveal that people with blood group O are on the highly vulnerable zone. It’s because, the cholera toxins hyperactivate a key signalling molecule in the intestinal cells of people with blood type O, causing them to suffer badly. High levels of the signalling molecule lead to excretion of electrolytes and water, which causes diarrhoea. In severe cases, cholera infection might lead dehydration, shock and even death.

Research says, cholera has been an endemic for over centuries, causing 100,000 to 120,000 deaths every year, many of which are from Indian subcontinent. The disease is triggered by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which becomes extremely hyperactive in people with O blood types.

However, the relation of blood type with the hyperactivity of cholera causative agent is a new finding. It’s been suggested that the presence of excess red blood cells in the intestinal line are highly responsible for causing cholera. But, later, it’s found that the blood group antigens – A, B, AB and O, all have almost the same level of red blood cells along their intestinal line. To find out the effect of the cholera causing agent, scientists have collected the clusters of intestinal epithelial stem cells, known as “enteroids”, which grew matured artificially in the laboratory.

In due course, all the groups of enteroids were treated with cholera toxin. Further, the amount of a key signalling molecule inside each of the cells was measured, only to discover that the levels of signalling molecule was twice as high in the cells with the type O antigen than in the cells with type A antigen. No wonder, people with type O antigen are likely to suffer from more severe diarrhoea and in such cases, no medicine seems to work for cholera prevention in these patients.

The scientists have confirmed that the quantity of red blood cells in Type O blood is relatively higher than people with blood Type A. As a result, the cholera toxin is aggravating about double the amount of key signalling molecule in the cells of type O antigen than in the others.

Whatever is the scenario, doctors have already suggested to adopt preventive measures for deterring this growing epidemic in the country. Implement all kinds of cholera prevention measures and avoid traveling to the affected part of the country.