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Filtering drinking water through cloth can cut cases of cholera by half, according to a new study carried out in Bangladesh.

Researchers from the US National Science Foundation found that filtering water through an old sari folded at least four times was just as effective as specially designed nylon filters at reducing the incidence of cholera, a waterborne disease that kills tens of thousands of people a year.

They report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the technique works by removing plankton that live in a mutually beneficial relationship with the bacteria that cause cholera.

Link to BBC Online news story

Photo credit: FAO