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All You Need to Know About Cholera

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All You Need to Know About Cholera

Gastro Science | Posted on 05/02/2023 by Dr. Abhinav Sharma



Have you been constantly experiencing the symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting? Then, it can be a sign of cholera which shouldn’t be overlooked. Cholera is an illness spread by contaminated water. It is important to consult a doctor immediately because if left untreated, then it can get serious within hours, even among people who are healthy. If you aren’t aware of the symptoms, causes, and other related aspects, then keep reading this blog, we will include all the necessary information for you. Kindly note that the information given in this blog is for informational purposes only and doesn’t interfere with the consultation of a healthcare provider.

What is cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial illness often spread through contaminated water. Any person suffering from this disease experiences symptoms like dehydration and severe diarrhea. If left untreated, then it can cause death also due to contaminated water with a bacterium known as vibrio cholera. This disease is very common in those places where there is complete sanitation, famine, war, and crowd.

V. Cholera bacteria live in salty water on microscopic crustaceans and salty water. They also survive in biofilm colonies coating the water surface, stones, shells, stones, items, and among the midges eggs which serve as a cholera bacteria reservoir. Toxic cholera bacteria strains produce a poison triggering violent diarrhea in humans. Once the bacteria enter human areas, it can quickly cause serious pandemics. However, loss of population, weather changes, and improved sanitation can put an end to such outbreaks.

Cholera symptoms

Cholera symptoms might take a few days or a few hours after infection. The symptoms in the beginning are often mild, but, in certain cases, they can be serious. According to studies, it is found that about one in twenty people infected with cholera disease experience watery diarrhea and vomiting. Generally, infected people might experience certain symptoms and some may not. The symptoms of cholera are:

  • Fast heartbeat 
  • Losing skin elasticity 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Thirst 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Nausea 
  • Watery diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness 
  • Moodiness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Shriveled skin 

Cholera causes

Vibrio cholera is the primary cause of cholera illness which is often found in water or food by feces from an individual with infection. Here are some other cholera causes:

  • Municipality water supplies
  • Drinking
  • and eating food from street vendors
  • Vegetables
  • developed with water comprising human waste
  • Ice made from municipal water
  • Fish that is raw or undercooked fish
  • Seafood caught in polluted water

What are the risk factors for cholera?

There are certain risk factors linked to cholera which include:

  • Poor sanitary conditions
  • Household exposure 
  • Reduced or nonexistent stomach acid 
  • Type O blood 
  • Raw or uncooked shellfish 

How is cholera diagnosed?

The doctor might suspect when any patient visits them with a complaint of severe watery diarrhea, dehydration, or vomiting, particularly when an individual has visited the place infected with a cholera history. 

To confirm the diagnosis, the fittest method is sending the stool sample to a laboratory for testing. However, the doctor might also recommend starting the treatment to the patient even before the results are out. The reason for starting the treatment is that it can get severe suddenly and even cause death, so to prevent complications, this step is essential.

How is cholera treated?

Cholera disease needs treatment right away to prevent the risk of death. So, here are some cholera treatment options usually followed or recommended by the doctor:

  • Rehydration- The aim of this treatment option involves replacing lost fluids and electrolytes with the use of a plain rehydration solution like ORS or oral rehydration salts. The patient can drink it with boiled or bottled water. Without this treatment option, it is found that around half the people with cholera die, but with rehydration, the fatalities go down to less than 1%. 
  • Intravenous fluids- People with cholera can find relief with rehydration, but for people with severe dehydration, doctors recommend involving the option of intravenous fluids. 
  • Antibiotics- This treatment option is not always recommended, but in certain cases, the doctor might involve the use of antibiotics. They are helpful in reducing diarrhea and shortening the length of it as well in people who are severely ill. 
  • Zinc supplements- According to a study, it is discovered that zinc is helpful in decreasing, including shortening the time of diarrhea in children with cholera. 

What are the tips for cholera prevention?

There are various ways that you can follow for cholera prevention such as:

  • Washing your hands frequently 
  • Using bottled or boiled water for brushing your teeth and preparing your food 
  • Use chlorine products or bleach to treat water 
  • Make sure to avoid dairy 
  • Always eat vegetables and fruits which are raw and easy to peel 

Conclusion

If you are diagnosed with cholera and experiencing severe diarrhea and vomiting, mainly after consuming raw shellfish or visiting a place with cholera earlier, make sure to seek medical assistance right away. You must know that cholera is treatable and don’t need to worry if consulting the doctor on time. But, you have to ensure starting the treatment immediately because dehydration can occur very quickly. Hydration is the primary cholera treatment and depending on the severity, your doctor will prescribe oral intravenous solutions for replacing lost fluids. If you aren’t certain whom to consult, then get in touch with Rukmani Birla Hospital, one of the best multispeciality in Jaipur. You will not only find quick relief for your illness but also the most effective treatment by a team of highly-skilled and experienced healthcare professionals.

FAQs


Is cholera a communicable disease?

No, cholera is not a communicable disease. 

How is cholera spread?

Cholera spreads through drinking contaminated water, eating street food, poor sanitation, or visiting a cholera epidemic place. 

Is cholera a bacterial disease?

Yes, cholera is a bacterial disease i.e. Vibrio cholera