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Cholera - An Overview

Cholera is a bacterial disease which spreads through contaminated water. The disease causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. If neglected, it can lead to death hence immediate treatment is necessary.

The risk of cholera is highest in situations of war, natural calamities and poverty.

Causes of Cholera

Cholera is caused due to the bacteria called vibrio cholera. These bacteria lead to production of toxin known as CTX in the small intestines. CTX further binds the intestinal walls by interfering with the flow of chloride and sodium. This leads to dehydration and loss of electrolytes and fluids.

Cholera is primarily caused due to contaminated water. Uncooked vegetables, fruits and food can also contain vibrio cholera bacteria.

Symptoms of Cholera

The common symptoms of cholera include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Mild to moderate diarrhea
  • Dehydration

The dehydration caused due to cholera is severe which leads to low blood pressure, tiredness, sunken eyes, moodiness, dry mouth, irregular heartbeat etc. It can also cause the loss of electrolytes which further leads to shock.

The symptoms of cholera in children include fever, drowsiness, coma and seizures.

Diagnosis of Cholera

The diagnosis of cholera can be done by determining the presence of bacteria in stool sample. These days, rapid dipsticks test are also available to confirm the diagnosis of cholera.

Treatment of Cholera

Some of the common ways to treat cholera include: rehydration, antibiotics, intravenous fluids and zinc supplements.

Rehydration: It helps in replacing the electrolytes and lost fluids.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics help in killing the bacteria that causes cholera.

Intravenous fluids: It helps in rehydration

Zinc supplements: It helps in reducing the duration of diarrhea in children.

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