Vibrio cholerae is the agent of cholera, a potentially lethal diarrheal disease that remains a significant threat to populations in developing nations. The infant rabbit model of cholera is the only non-surgical small animal model system that closely mimics human cholera. Following orogastric inoculation, V. cholerae colonizes the intestines of infant rabbits, and the animals develop severe cholera-like diarrhea. In this unit, we provide a detailed description of the preparation of the V. cholerae inoculum, the inoculation process and the collection and processing of tissue samples. This infection model is useful for studies of V. cholerae factors and mechanisms that promote its intestinal colonization and enterotoxicity, as well as the host response to infection. The infant rabbit model of cholera enables investigations that will further our understanding of the pathophysiology of cholera and provides a platform for testing new therapeutics.
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