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Cholera: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Cholera is by far the most panicking disease that has is both waterborne and foodborne. It Is and acute epidemic disease that is infectious.

It is usually identified with diarrhoea, loss of fluids and electrolytes yielding to severe dehydration. The journey from here can be fatal.

It is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera (V. cholera).

The treatment for Cholera is easy and yet it has affected between 3 and 5 million people each year, and it causes over 100,000 deaths worldwide.

The severe dehydration can lead to fatality rates are high when not treated initially. This is common and fatal amongst the children and infants. Death can occur in otherwise healthy adults within hours. Those who recover usually have long-term immunity against re-infection.


Symptoms of Cholera

If the immunity is low and the chances of a case going fatal are 1 in 20. This is based on the severity level and a high volume of people don’t show any symptoms.

If the symptoms appear, they will do so between 12 hours and 5 days after exposure. They range from mild or asymptomatic to severe.

They occur with:

  • Large Volumes of Explosive
  • Leg Cramps

The best sign of cholera is the dehydration, the person suffering from this can be best rescued if treated a the earliest. In some cases, due to negligence, the patient suffers death within a few hours.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Fast Heart Beat
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Rapid Weight Loss
  • Loose Skin
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Dry Mouth
  • Decreased Secretion, For Example, Less Sweating

A sudden shock can collapse the circulatory system. It is a life-threatening condition and a medical emergency.


Causes of Cholera:

Toxic strains of cholera bacteria produce a poison that triggers violent diarrhoea in humans. V. cholera bacteria live in shallow, salty water on microscopic crustaceans. They can also exist as colonies of biofilms that coat the surface of the water, plants, stones, shells, and similar items, and they can live among the eggs of midges, which serve as a reservoir for cholera bacteria.

  • This occurs in places and around the area of poor sanitation. The bacteria enter the body through the mouth. Poor hygiene.
  • It can be circulated through seafood that is not completely cooked. Particularly, shellfish near estuary environments. Including oysters and crabs.
  • Poorly cleaned vegetables irrigated by contaminated water sources are another common source of infection.
  • In situations where sanitation is severely challenged, such as in refugee camps or communities with highly limited water resources, a single affected victim can contaminate all the water for an entire population.


Diagnosis for Cholera:

The medical diagnosis first suspects cholera if the patient has severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting and rapid dehydration. This is common if people have travelled to a place that has a recent history of cholera or improper sanitization.

The laboratory tests a sample stool that has been sent, if the test confirms positive, the patient is abstained from all activities and is expected to start the treatment. And all this even before the test reports arrive at hand.


Treatment for Cholera:

It is normally dehydration that leads to death from cholera, so the most important treatment is to give oral hydration solution (ORS), also known as oral rehydration therapy (ORT).

The treatment consists of large volumes of water mixed with a blend of sugar and salts.

  • Prepackaged mixtures are commercially available, but widespread distribution in developing countries is limited by cost, so homemade ORS recipes are often used, with common household ingredients.
  • Severe cases of cholera require intravenous fluid replacement. An adult weighing 70 kilograms will need at least 7 litres of intravenous fluids.
  • Antibiotics can shorten the duration of the illness, but the WHO does not recommend the mass use of antibiotics for cholera, because of the growing risk of bacterial resistance.
  • Anti-diarrheal medicines are not used because they prevent the bacteria from being flushed out of the body.

With proper care and treatment, the fatality rate should be around 1 per cent.

Prevention of Cholera:

Cholera is often spread through food and because of poor hygiene. Some simple measures can reduce the risk of contracting cholera.

  • Handwashing is important to prevent the spread of disease.
  • When travelling in areas where the disease is endemic, it is important to:
  • Eat only fruit you have peeled.
  • Avoid salads, raw fish, and uncooked vegetables.
  • Ensure that food is thoroughly cooked.
  • Make sure water is bottled or boiled and safe to consume.
  • Avoid street food, as this can carry cholera and other diseases.
  • Travellers should learn about cholera before visiting a country where it is prevalent.

Individuals should seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as leg cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea while in a community where the disease exists.

Cholera vaccine

There are currently three cholera vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). These are Dukoral, Shanchol, and Euvichol.

All three require two doses to give full protection.

Dukoral needs to be taken with clean water, and it provides roughly 65 per cent protection for 2 years. Shanchol and Euvichol do not need to be taken with water, and they provide 65 per cent protection for 5 years. All the vaccines offer higher protection nearer to the time they are given.

Risk factors of Cholera:

People most at risk of consuming food or water infected with the V. cholera are:

  • People who work in healthcare and treat individuals with cholera
  • Relief workers who respond to cholera outbreaks
  • People who are travelling in areas where cholera can still be transmitted that do not follow hygiene and food safety precautions

Wide-spreading epidemics of cholera often occur due to water supplies that are contaminated with human waste and street food vendors.

The following people are also at risk of a more severe reaction to V. cholera than others:

  • People with achlorhydria, a condition that removes hydrochloric acid from the stomach
  • Individuals with blood type O
  • People who have chronic medical conditions
  • Those without access to ORT and other medical services

Effective hygiene measures can help reduce the risk presented by cholera.







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