A reference laboratory on cholera outbreaks in Lebanon

In early October 2022, Lebanon saw a cholera outbreak that began in rural areas in the north of Lebanon and spread to most regions nationwide reaching a total of 368 laboratory-confirmed cases on October 27, 2022, as reported by the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit. Lebanese Ministry of Health. The destitute and those living in poor infrastructure are once again at the greatest disadvantage, due to inadequate hygiene and sanitation, poor water treatment and unsafe drinking water.

Emergency Response to Cholera Outbreak in Lebanon at the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Bacterial Pathogens (WHO-CC) Division of Experimental Pathology, Immunology and Microbiology (WHO-CC) EPIM) and Center for Infectious Disease Research ( CIDR). At the request of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the WHO-CC exclusively engaged in laboratory testing of Vibrio cholerae, at the phenotypic as well as genotypic level, for a nationwide genomic surveillance of the etiology of cholera outbreaks in Lebanon.

“Countrywide surveillance of cholera is essential for a timely public health response and the implementation of control measures by government authorities to prevent the spread of the etiological agent of cholera,” said Dr. Ghassan Matar. “This will be done by elucidating the identity and origin of circulating strains using state-of-the-art technologies such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).”

Professor Ghassan Matar, who is leading this effort, is chairperson of the EPIM department, associate director and laboratory director of the university’s CIDR, and director of the WHO Collaborating Centre. The technical lead for this effort is Dr. Antoine Abu Fayed, assistant professor in the EPIM department. American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine WHO-CC is leading regional and global surveillance of cholera and other infectious diseases as Dr. Matar serves as a member of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control.

“By highlighting specific genotypic characteristics of circulating strains of V. cholerae, we can track the source of these strains and MoPH can link this information with epidemiological data and implement appropriate measures to control the spread of the organism,” said Dr. the mother

By examining clinical samples (stool samples) and environmental samples (water and sewage) and vegetables, the American University of Beirut team was able to identify a single strain. Vibrio cholerae Promoted in Lebanon. “Our findings showed that the strain belonged to serotype O1 EL TOR OGAWA, sequence type (ST) ST 69, which is resistant to many antibiotics. Phylogenetically, the Vibrio cholerae The strain that is spreading nationwide in Lebanon is similar to Syria and other countries,” said Dr. Matar. Emergency response is still underway.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild, moderate, or asymptomatic, yet can sometimes be severe causing profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting with other symptoms, and can be life-threatening. It spreads and spreads in settings due to inadequate sanitation, poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water and inadequate sewage treatment. People under these conditions are most vulnerable to cholera. Dr. Matar recommends that people take preventive measures regarding hygiene, use safe drinking water from sealed bottles of trusted sources, and use disinfectants to wash fruits and vegetables.

The American University of Beirut is keen to build partnerships between its Faculty of Medicine and international organizations to raise awareness of disease outbreaks and provide the necessary early warning. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ The American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine is a leading internationally recognized medical education and research institution in Lebanon and the Middle East known for providing educational and training programs in responsive medicine and biomedical research to develop globally. Academic medicine and patient care needs. i am


For more information contact:
Simon Cutcher, Ph.D
Interim Director of Communication Office
Director of News and Media Relations
[email protected]

About AUB

Founded in 1866, American University of Beirut bases its educational philosophy, values, and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. An education-focused research university, AUB has more than 800 full-time faculty members and a student body of more than 8000 students. AUB currently offers more than 120 programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s, MD, and PhD degrees. It provides medical education and training to students from across the region at its medical center which includes a full-service 365-bed hospital.


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