Madrid: Spain’s Ministry of Health denied reports by regional counterparts on Wednesday that a locally-acquired case of cholera was actually detected as Vibrio gastroenteritis for the first time in 40 years.
A spokesman for the Madrid health authorities said the female patient was admitted to a private medical facility in Madrid and was discharged after receiving treatment, without providing the date of admission or other details. No other cases have been reported.
“As a result of the corresponding analysis, the pathogen in this case was determined to be non-toxinogenic Vibrio cholerae 01, so it is considered to be Vibrio gastroenteritis, not cholera,” the Spanish Ministry of Health said.
The woman became infected after drinking water from a property in Toledo, 75 km (47 miles) south of the Castile-La Mancha capital. The property was subsequently closed for safety reasons.
Cholera is an acute diarrhea infection caused by Vibrio cholerae and can be fatal if left untreated. It is spread primarily by contaminated food and water.
The last local outbreak of cholera in Spain was in 1979, with 267 cases reported primarily in Barcelona and Malaga. Since then, health authorities have registered only a small number of imported cases each year.
Regular surges in illness are not uncommon, especially in developing countries and war zones where treatment is often unavailable.
According to the World Health Organization, 1.3 to 4 million cases of cholera are reported worldwide each year. (Report by Christina Thykjaer and Emma Pinedo, edited by Graham Keeley and Mark Potter)