All about Cholera

 
Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
All about Cholera

Here are Cholera Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. The disease is most common in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine.


Causes:

  • Common sources of contamination include:
  • Municipal water supplies
  • Ice made from municipal water
  • Foods and drinks sold by street vendors
  • Vegetables grown with water containing human wastes
  • Raw or under-cooked fish and seafood caught in waters polluted with sewage


When a person consumes the contaminated food or water, the bacteria release a toxin in the intestines that produces severe diarrhoea.


Symptoms:

Symptoms of cholera can begin as soon as a few hours or as long as five days after infection. These include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity (the ability to return to original position quickly if pinched)
  • Dry mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth, throat, nose, and eyelids
  • Low blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps
  • If not treated, dehydration can lead to shock and death in a matter of few hours.


Diagnosis:

Doctors usually take a stool sample or vomit sample to check for signs of the cholera causing bacteria.


Treatment:

  • Hydration is the treatment for cholera. Depending on how severe the diarrhoea is, treatment will consist of oral or intravenous solutions to replace lost fluids. Antibiotics, which kill the bacteria, are not used for mild cases. But they can reduce the duration of diarrhoea and also reduce the excretion of the bacteria, thus helping to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Cholera vaccines are also available but whether your child needs one or not will be decided by your child’s doctor. 


Prevention:

Use water that is boiled, chemically disinfected, or bottled water for the following purposes:

  • Drinking
  • Preparing food or drinks
  • Making ice
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Washing your face and hands
  • Washing dishes and utensils that you use to eat or prepare food
  • Washing fruits and vegetables


Avoid raw foods like:

  • Unpeeled fruits and vegetables
  • Unpasteurised milk and milk products
  • Raw or under-cooked meat or shellfish
  • Fish caught in tropical reefs, which may be contaminated.



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