A total of 173 O1 isolates from the recent cholera epidemic in Colombia was analysed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the genes encoding the A subunit of cholera toxin () and the zonula occludens toxin (), and by ribotyping. All isolates were positive for and , which was confirmed by hybridisation. Ribotyping with restriction endonuclease /I digestion of total DNA revealed three ribotypes: B5a comprising 165 (96.4%) isolates, and two new designated ribotypes B20 and B21a in six (3.5%) isolates and two (1.1%) isolates, respectively. These findings have significant public health implications.


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