Cholera: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, Is Cholera Contagious?

About Cholera

Cholera outbreak has become quite common these days owing to the easy spread this disease has been subjected to. Its epidemic nature has made cholera more viable to acquire a lethal form which has caused havoc around various countries. This disease is water-borne thus making it easier to spread with a superfast speed.

Resultant of this ailment is that, varied deaths have been caused in large numbers thus making cholera difficult to curtail at an early stage. This guide talks about what cholera is and it’s various related aspects.

What is Cholera?

What is Cholera?

Infection of small intestine caused by bacteria vibrio cholerae is termed as cholera. This is a bacterial infection which is caused due to intake of contaminated water. There are many types of bacteria which are held responsible for causing cholera and this infection is occurs in varied degrees of severity.

What are the Causes of Cholera?

Cholera is caused by both dietary and hygiene issues and nutrient deficiency which takes a toll on the patient’s health. Some of the common causes of cholera are:

  • This may sound strange yet people with type O blood groups are more prone to falling ill with a cholera infection.
  • Consumption of surface or well water which remains standing for a long time.
  • People living nearby coastal waters are more prone to having cholera infection.
  • It is not always a great idea to eat bland food. The simpler the food you have, the greater becomes the possibility of suffering from cholera. This infection cannot survive if the level of stomach acids is apt. It is best to take antacids only when you have severe acidity as mere absence of stomach acids proves to be a breeding ground for multiple problems such as cholera.
  • Improperly cooked or uncooked fruits and vegetables can cause cholera.
  • Consumption of grains like rice and millet which are cultivated in dirty waters causes cholera.
  • Consumption of fruits which are unpeeled and eaten without washing properly are a reason enough for cholera infection. Such fruits and vegetables which are irrigated in contaminated water are a breeding ground for cholera.
  • Food which is prepared and kept for a long time before consumption causes cholera.
  • Contaminated water intake leads to cholera infection.
  • Beware of eating a shellfish which is a great source of nutrition and yet bears cholera-causing bacteria causing major problem for those who relish it. Many waters around the world harbor cholera bacteria in which shellfish sustain. If clean water fish is eaten, no major problem related with cholera can occur.
  • Cholera can be caused and transmitted from unhygienic conditions with dirty surroundings.

Is Cholera Contagious?

Cholera is extremely contagious and passes from person-to-person through infected fecal matter which has contaminated food or water and when this is consumed by someone else. If you have somebody around you suffering from cholera then problems can increase multifold.

What are the Symptoms of Cholera?

Symptoms of cholera are indicated in the form of stomach upset and nausea making the body of a patient highly deficient in electrolytes. If we bifurcate the symptoms of cholera then it can be stated in the following manner:

  • Dehydration occurs when cholera has troubled your body with watery stools. This problem runs in a cyclic manner and causes further reduction in the levels of electrolytes. The problems of dehydration may become severe or mild depending upon the kind of problem that has attacked your immune system.
  • Vomiting occurs during onset of cholera which can last for a long time therefore it becomes essential that any nausea condition should be treated at the earliest.
  • Diarrhea in case of Cholera is often of a different hue, which appears to be pale and milky and is extremely watery
  • Body ache and muscle pain is very severe depending upon the level of disease you are suffering from.
  • Kids may suffer from seizures and in severe cases, can also go into coma.
  • Low blood pressure which results from electrolytes loss and excessive dehydration also becomes a major factor for the same.

Can Cholera be Prevented?

This infection can be prevented with some cautionary measures like maintaining hygiene and cleanliness. Susceptibility of this cholera is quite high in the major chunk of population. Preventive measures are easy to undertake of which inoculation of the patients is one. In some poor countries, some cheaper measures for prevention are undertaken thus making it easier to get protected from cholera. Preventions include initiating a cleanliness drive along with intake of medications and injections. Degree of this dreaded disease can be controlled through proper diet, medication and taking adequate rest.

Preventive measures can also be taken which provides ample protection from cholera. You need to maintain hygiene by washing your hands properly and avoid any food which is raw or uncooked. Even if you love to eat fruits and green veggies, it is better to peel them off with care; otherwise, you will have severe bouts of cholera.

Drinking clean and safe water is a must which prevents any infection breeding up in your body. Eating healthy food is a good tip to maintain your body strength and it is highly recommended to always gorge on food which is freshly prepared.

How is Cholera Treated?

Cholera needs to be treated immediate as this disease can result in death of the patient within hours. The following steps are undertaken for treatment of cholera:

Rehydration: The main aim of treatment in cholera is replace the lost fluids and electrolytes with the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS). About half of the cholera patients die due to dehydration and lack of re-hydration.

Intravenous Fluids: IV fluids are required if the cholera patient is severely dehydrated and oral fluids are not sufficient for the patient.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics help in cutting down the amount as well as the duration of diarrhea of cholera.

Zinc Supplements: Zinc also helps in decreasing duration of diarrhea in children suffering from cholera.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 5, 2018

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