Cholera - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Cholera is known to be an infectious disease that has been known to cause severe watery diarrhoea in patients, which leads towards serious dehydration and even death in the extreme of the cases where it is left untreated. Cholera is known to occur by the consumption of contaminated food or water. The bacteria by the name of Vibrio Cholerae are known to be the root cause for Cholera all over the world.

Cholera is known to be prevalent all over the world. Earlier before the invention of a proper sewage system, the spread of cholera was widespread all over the world. Every year still, there are reported cases of cholera all over the world. It is known to affect around 3 to 5 million people all over the world and causes more than 100,000 deaths.

The disease is known to spread best in areas that lack sanitation conditions as well as in areas inflicted with poverty war and famine. Across the world, the areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America are known to be the ones that are most prone to cholera endemic. Vibrio Cholerae, which is the bacteria which causes cholera all over the world is known to spread via contaminated water and food to people.

Some of the most common sources that may carry this bacterium are as follows:

  • Contamination in the municipal water supplies
  • Foods and drinks that are sold by the roadside vendors
  • Vegetables and fruits cooked with water contaminated with human waste
  • Raw as well as undercooked fish and seafood, that has been cooked in water polluted with sewage
  • Ice made from contaminated water from municipal supply

Upon the consumption of any of these and the infection of the person with the bacteria, there is a release of the toxins by the bacteria in the intestines of the patient causing severe diarrhoea.

Signs And Symptoms Of Cholera

Some of the major signs and symptoms of watery cholera basically are the flecks of a whitish material, generally presumed to be mucus along with the epithelial cells about the size of a grain of rice. This kind of diarrheal is known as ‘rice water stool’ and it gives off a fishy odour. The volume in case of such diahrrea can be enormous.

However, some of the other symptoms that may accompany along with diarrheal are as follows:

  • Increased vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat and rate
  • Loss in the elasticity of the skin
  • Dryness of the mucous membranes
  • Lower body blood pressure
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased muscle cramps
  • Restlessness as well as irritability, often seen in children

People who are infected with cholera are the ones that need immediate hydration in order to stop the continuation of these symptoms. In case this is not done, and then there are chances for the development of sever cholera.

People suffering from severe cholera account for 5-10% of the people who develop the malady. With the development of the severe cholera, the patients can develop a case of acute renal failure as well as coma in some of the stages. In under developed nations, where no treatment is available, the death rate due to cholera can arise to be as high as 50-60%.

Spread Of Cholera

Cholera is basically caused by the bacterium V. Cholerae. The enterotoxin from the bacteria causes the human body cells to go out and extract the water from the electrolytes of the body. After the extraction of the same, it goes out to pump the same into the intestinal lumen and therefore, makes sure that the electrolytes are pumped out of the body as in the case of diarrhoea. Not only that, the enterotonin that is found in the body of the cholera patients is similar to the ones that are caused by the bacteria that cause diphtheria in case of children. The toxin secreted by the bacteria goes out to cause severe dehydration amongst patients.

Diagnosis Of Cholera

Most cases of preliminary diagnosis of the disease are often done by the patients and the caretakers who are able to observe the symptoms of the disease from the very beginning. Not only that, since the diarrhoea fluid is often seen teeming with the bacteria which causes it in the first place; it becomes very easy for the doctors to diagnose the disease by simple tests. The diagnosis of the disease can be done easily with the help of the isolation of the bacteria from the fluid with the help of a selective solution of TCBS. In some of the cases, the PCR tests are also developed and used in order to make sure to detect the genetic material present in the bacteria. Also, these tests are not used all over the world, since they are based on the type specific antiserums most of the time.

In order to put into place the diagnosis for the distinguishing of cholera bacteria from the others, definitive tests and diagnosis are often used.

Treatment Of Cholera

It is recommended all over the world that rehydration along with ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) needs to be provided to the patients as a primary treatment for cholera. ORS solutions, which are available all over the world in packaged containers, are the ones which contain glucose and electrolytes as the basic solutions in order to put back and refurbish the body’s needs for water and salts.

Along with this, some of the general antibiotics are also needed in case for treatment of the severe cholera infections. These are needed in order to make sure that they function in order to reduce the amount of dehydration of the body. Some of the best known antibiotics used all over the world for the treatment of cholera are tetracycline, doxycycline, furazolidone, erythromycin and ciprofloxacin.

The prognosis of Cholera ranges from one person to the other. It can come out to range from excellent to poor in some of the cases and is totally dependent on the person and the stage at which he is suffering from the disease. Not only that, in some of the regions, the death rate for cholera is as large as 50-60%. With the use of medicines and timely action, this can be decreased to 1%. The sooner the diagnosis is done; the better will be the prognosis of the disease.

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