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The Salt Lake County Health Department is investigating the first suspected cases of cholera in Utah in 15 years.

Samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and health department epidemiologists are investigating to learn the source of the infection, said Nicholas Rupp, the department's communications coordinator.

Rupp was not able to say whether the two people diagnosed with the bacterial infection know each other. They are receiving medical care, he said, and the infection is not life-threatening.

The county's last reported case of cholera was in 2000, but the state, which uses different criteria for recording cases, says the last Utah cases were in 1993.

Cholera is caused by a bacterial infection of the intestine, resulting in acute diarrhea. It's typically treated by providing the patient with fluids. If untreated, it can be fatal.

Cholera is rare in developed countries with good water systems, but it can be ingested from contaminated food.

It is not transmitted from human to human, Rupp said.

The department's travel clinic at 2100 S. State St. has information about cholera for those traveling to countries where it's prevalent. Appointments can be made by calling 385-468-4111.