Cholera is an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera. It occurs in epidemics when conditions of poor sanitation, crowding, war and famine are present Cholera is a serious condition. A severe case of cholera can lead to death without immediate treatment Cholera is also called V. Cholera and Vibrio.
What causes cholera?
The most common cause of cholera is by someone eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the bacteria After a disaster, this is a very real danger, since regular, clean water is often unavailable. The disease can be spread even further by infected people using already dirty water sources to clean themselves or dispose of waste. Symptoms of Cholera
There are many symptoms of cholera. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms of cholera are: - Sudden onset of watery diarrhea, up to 1 litre per hour
- Diarrhea has a “rice water” appearance, where the stool looks like water with flecks of rice in it - Diarrhea has a “fishy” odour
- Rapid heart rate
- Dry skin
- ‘glassy’ eyes or sunken eyes
- Unusual sleepiness or tiredness
- Low urine output
- Abdominal cramps
Can Cholera be prevented?
Yes, there are two vaccines that provide short term, limited protection against the cholera bacteria If you do not have access to these vaccines and you are travelling, take precautions with food and drinking water Some common precautions are:
- Eat only food that has been thoroughly been cooked and is still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself - Avoid undercooked or raw fish and shellfish
- Avoid raw salads and vegetables
- Avoid food and drinks from street vendors
Can cholera be treated?
Yes. It is very important to visit a doctor so cholera can be treated immediately. The cholera treatment involves fluid replacement