Cholera

April 2017


Definition

Cholera is an acute, epidemic, dangerous and highly contagious intestinal infection caused by bacteria called vibrio cholerae. Cholera is spread by direct contact from person to person and is primarily spread by water and food. It is uncommon in Europe or America, but is endemic in Asia, particularly in India.

Symptoms

Symptoms of cholera include:
  • watery diarrhea that is colorless, voluminous and is described as 'rice water';
  • severe dehydration in response to major water loss, which can sometimes reach more than 10 liters per day;
  • unstoppable vomiting;
  • muscle cramps;
  • hypothermia;
  • renal failure with no emission of urine.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of cholera is done via a laboratory sample analysis taken from the stool. No other exam is necessary.

Treatment

As soon as the presence of cholera is suspected, the affected person must be immediately hydrated with solutions made of purified water, sugar and salt. Treatment of cholera is essentially a replacement of all lost minerals and liquid. Antibiotics are also prescribed: they reduce the volume and duration of diarrhea and limit the spreading of germs. Note that the occurrence of this disease must be reported to health authorities.

Prevention

In affected regions of the globe, it is useful to heed the following precautions: wash hands with soap and water frequently while avoiding the use of collective towels, drink only bottled or boiled water. Otherwise you can also use treated water. Also avoid ice. There are also disinfecting tablets sold in pharmacies. It is forbidden to drink unpasteurized milk, and it is recommended to avoid eating ice cream, to fully cook food and heat drinks, and to not eat fish and shellfish. For travelers, a vaccine also exists.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff. Latest update on November 2, 2016 at 10:08 AM by MarziaChiriatti.
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