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Cholera
27 Jan' 21

Cholera

 

 

Cholera is a bacterial infection spread by drinking polluted water. Cholera causes dehydration and severe diarrhea. Cholera, if left untreated, can kill a person within hours, even if they were previously healthy.  

In industrialized countries, modern sewage and water treatment have practically eliminated cholera. However, cholera continues to be a problem in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Haiti. When poverty, war, or natural calamities force people to live in overcrowded conditions with inadequate sanitation, the chance of a cholera pandemic is greatest.  

Cholera is a disease that is easily treated. A simple and affordable rehydration treatment can save death from severe dehydration. 

 

Symptoms  

The majority of persons who are exposed to the cholera bacteria (Vibrio cholera) do not get sick and are unaware that they have been infected. They can still infect others through contaminated water since they shed cholera bacteria in their stool for seven to 14 days.  

The majority of cholera infections that show symptoms cause mild to moderate diarrhea, which can be difficult to distinguish from diarrhea caused by other disorders. Others, usually within a few days after infection, develop more serious cholera signs and symptoms.  

 

 Some of the signs and symptoms of cholera infection include: 

  • Diarrhea. Cholera-related diarrhoea starts rapidly and can cause severe fluid loss of up to a quart (about 1 litre) each hour. Cholera diarrhoea looks like water that has been washed with rice and has a pale, milky tint. 
  • The most prevalent negative effects are nausea and vomiting. Especially in the early stages of cholera, vomiting can last for hours. 
  • Dehydration. Dehydration can happen quickly following the onset of cholera symptoms and can range from mild to severe. A loss of 10% or more of body weight is considered severe dehydration.Irritability, fatigue, sunken eyes, a dry mouth, acute thirst, dry and shrivelled skin that resists bouncing back when pressed into a fold, little or no urinating, low blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat are all signs and symptoms of cholera dehydration.

 

Causes  

Cholera is caused by a bacteria called Vibrio cholera. The disease's devastating effects are caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria in the small intestine. The toxin causes the body to release massive amounts of water, resulting in diarrhea and fast fluid, and salt loss (electrolytes).  Even if the cholera bacteria do not produce illness in everyone who is exposed to them, individuals nevertheless pass the bacteria in their stool, contaminating food and water supplies.  The main cause of cholera infection is contaminated water supply. The bacterium can be found in the following places:  

  •  Water from the surface or a well. Large-scale cholera epidemics are frequently caused by contaminated public wells. 
  • Seafood. Cholera germs can be spread by eating raw or undercooked seafood, particularly shellfish, from certain areas. Cholera cases in the United States have recently been linked to seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.  
  • Fruits and vegetables that are still raw. In cholera-affected communities, raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables are a common source of infection. Uncomposted manure fertilizers or irrigation water containing raw sewage can taint produce in the field in impoverished countries.  
  • Grains. In areas where cholera is common, grains like rice and millet might produce cholera germs if they are infected after cooking and stored at room temperature for many hours. 

 

Diagnosis  

Although the signs and symptoms of severe cholera can be easily identified in locations where it is prevalent, the only way to be sure is to identify the bacteria in a stool sample.  Doctors in rural places might use rapid cholera dipstick tests to confirm a cholera diagnosis. Quick confirmation reduces the number of people who die at the outset of a cholera outbreak and allows for earlier public health efforts to manage the disease. 

 

Treatment  

Cholera needs to be treated right away since it can kill you in a matter of hours.  

  • Rehydration. The purpose is to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes with oral rehydration salts, a basic rehydration solution (ORS). The ORS solution is a powder that can be mixed with either boiled or bottled water.  
  • Cholera kills about half of the people who don't get rehydrated. Treatment reduces the number of people who die to less than 1%.  
  • Intravenous fluids are a type of intravenous fluid that is injected into The majority of persons with cholera can be treated with oral rehydration alone, but those who are critically dehydrated may require intravenous fluids.  
  • Antibiotics. While antibiotics are not required for cholera treatment, they can help minimize cholera-related diarrhea. 
  • Supplements containing zinc. Zinc has been proven in studies to help children with cholera have less diarrhea and for it to last less time.  

  

Complications  

Cholera is a disease that can swiftly turn lethal. Rapid loss of huge amounts of fluids and electrolytes can result in mortality within hours in the most severe situations. People who do not receive care for cholera might die from dehydration and shock hours to days after symptoms first occur.  

Although shock and extreme dehydration are the most serious cholera consequences, other issues can arise, including:  

  • Blood sugar levels are low (hypoglycemia). When people become hypoglycemic, dangerously low amounts of blood sugar (glucose) — the body's main energy source — can result. 
  • Potassium levels are low. People who have cholera lose a lot of minerals in their feces, including potassium. Potassium deficiency interferes with heart and nerve function and can be fatal.  
  • Kidney failure is a serious condition. Excess fluids, some electrolytes, and wastes build up in the body when the kidneys lose their filtering abilities, posing a potentially life-threatening situation. Kidney failure is common in cholera patients, as shocks. 

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