Health & Medical Diseases & Conditions

Cholera- Causes and Symptoms

Cholera is an infection in the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The important symptoms are gushy, watery stool and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms of the disease. The severity of the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, and may even prove fatal in some cases.

•    Cholera is a disease caused by bacteria that produce a watery diarrhea that can speedily lead to dehydration.
•    Cholera symptoms and signs include a rapid onset of abundant, smelly diarrhea that resembles rice water and may lead to signs of dehydration, for example, vomiting, wrinkled skin, low blood pressure, dry mouth, palpitated heart beat.
•    Cholera is most frequently transmitted by water sources contaminated with the bacteria Vibrio cholerae that causes disease, although contaminated foods, especially raw shellfish, may also transmit the cholera-causing bacteria.

Cholera is an acute infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Vibrio cholerae, which results in a painless, watery diarrhea in humans. Some affected individuals have copious amounts of diarrhea and develop dehydration so severe it can lead to death. Most people who get the disease ingest the organisms through food or water sources contaminated with bacteria.

The symptoms and signs of cholera are a watery diarrhea that often contains flecks of whitish material (mucus and some cells) that are about the size of pieces of rice. These symptoms usually start suddenly, around one to five days after ingestion of the bacteria. The diarrhea is frequently described to have a "rice water" consistency in nature and may have a fishy odor. An untreated person suffering with cholera may produce 10–20 litres of diarrhea per day with fatal results. People may proceed to develop one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

     Rapid heart rate;
     Loss of skin elasticity;
     Dry mucous membranes;
     Low blood pressure;
     Muscle cramps;
     Restlessness or irritability, mostly in children.

Those infected require immediate and ample hydration to prevent these symptoms from continuing because these signs and symptoms indicate that the person is becoming or is dehydrated and may go on to develop severe cholera that may also prove fatal. People with severe cholera can develop severe dehydration which ultimately leads to acute renal failure, severe electrolyte imbalances, especially potassium and sodium, and then coma. If left untreated, this severe dehydration can rapidly lead to jolt and death. Severe dehydration can often occur four to eight hours after the first liquid rice-like stool, ending with death in about 18 hours to a few days in undertreated or untreated people. In epidemic outbreaks in underdeveloped countries where there is low-lying or utmost no treatment is available, the mortality or death rate can be as high as 50%-60%.

Always prefer to eat and drink from a healthy source to avoid any chance of cholera. Eat healthy, stay healthy.

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