Vibrio cholerae serogroup O139 Bengal, a novel strain with epidemic potential, completely displaced V. cholerae serogroup 01 in Calcutta in January 1993, which was followed by an epidemic caused by V. cholerae O139 in March–May 1993. From November 1992 to July 1993, 95.6% of 916 V. cholerae isolates submitted to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases from 28 locations in India were confirmed as serogroup O139. As of July 1993, V. cholerae O139 had been isolated from 13 Indian states and a union territory, and large outbreaks of cholera caused by the O139 serogroup had occurred in several cities. The extent of spread of V. cholerae O139 Bengal in India and its ability to swiftly disseminate leaves little doubt that this is the beginning of the eighth pandemic of cholera.

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