Vibrio cholerae is a bacterial pathogen that causes a highly contagious diarrheal disease. Once ingested, typically through contaminated food or water, the bacteria are able to colonize the small intestine of the host where they produce cholera toxin (CT). The most common symptom is life threatening watery diarrhea where those affected can lose up 1 liter per hour of water. Natural disasters, such as major floods and earthquakes, as well as poor sanitation are often associated with outbreaks.
In addition to its highly toxic properties, CT has also been found to have high immunogenic properties that have shown potential for beneficial use such as helping induce an immune response when given with vaccines. However; the toxic properties of CT have made its use in humans undesirable. Researchers are now focusing on removing the toxicity from the molecule while maintaining its adjuvant effect.
Sources: Toxins; Davidson College