First case of cholera detected in Spain in over four decades

Health officials have since shut down the property from where the contaminated water originated.



On Wednesday, the Spanish regional health authorities announced their first locally detected case of cholera since 1979. The infected person has already recovered and no additional cases have been reported since. A young woman under the age of 18 was hospitalised in Madrid in a private health facility, received treatment and was later discharged stated the Madrid health authority spokesperson. The cholera infection came after she ingested tap water from a farm in Toledo, which is 75km south of the capital in the region of Castilla La Mancha. Health officials have stated that the farm has been sealed off due to safety reasons. The water from the farm has since been tested for Vibrio cholerae and confirmed for the bacterium that causes cholera.


Vibrio cholera causes an acute diarrhoeal infection and can be deadly if left untreated. Cholera is spread through drinking contaminated food and water. Symptoms experienced by 1 in 10 people in the early stages include profuse watery diarrhoea, vomiting, thirst, leg cramp and restlessness or irritability. Patients with profuse watery diarrhoea have symptoms of rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity and low blood pressure. The last reported outbreak in Spain was in 1979 when 267 cases were reported in Barcelona and Malaga mainly. Since 1979, only a few imported cases each year. Surges of cholera are not uncommon, specifically in developing countries or war-torn countries where treatment is not readily available. According to the World Health Organization there are roughly 1.3 to 4 million cases of cholera reported worldwide yearly.