Ho Chi Minh City, April 14: Bacteria present in ice tea may increase risk of cholera in endemic countries, suggests new research from Vietnam.
The transmission of cholera is closely linked to inadequate access to clean water.
“Along with traditional approaches that focus on enhancement of safe water, sanitation, and food safety, combined with periodic provision of oral cholera vaccines, a water quality monitoring system at ice-making plants should be established,” the researchers said.
Vietnam faced an increase in cases of the diarrhoeal disease during 2007-2010. Nearly 22 per cent of people with cholera reported drinking iced tea in the week prior to their disease.
In the new work, published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Thuong Vu Nguyen of the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, and colleagues interviewed 60 people who were confirmed to have been infected with cholera during the 2010 outbreak in Ben Tre, as well as 240 controls.
Eating and drinking habits of people were recorded and researchers also collected samples of nearby river water, drinking water and wastewater samples to test for Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria which spreads the disease.
The researchers found that drinking stored rainwater, eating cooked seafood or steamed vegetables were protective against the disease.
Ice in their water and use of sedimented river water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and brushing their teeth were the main cause of cholera.