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Cholera

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Cholera facts

  • Cholera is a disease caused by bacteria that produce a watery diarrhea that can rapidly lead to dehydration.
  • Cholera symptoms and signs include a rapid onset of copious, smelly diarrhea that resembles rice water and may lead to signs of dehydration (for example, vomiting, wrinkled skin, low blood pressure, dry mouth, rapid heart rate).
  • Cholera is most frequently transmitted by water sources contaminated with the causative bacterium Vibrio cholerae, although contaminated foods, especially raw shellfish, may also transmit the cholera-causing bacteria.
  • Cholera is presumptively diagnosed by patient history and examination of stool for rice-water appearance and presence of V. cholerae-like organisms microscopically; definitive diagnosis is done by isolation and identification of V. cholerae from stool samples.
  • The main treatment for cholera is fluid and electrolyte replacement, both oral and IV. Antibiotics usually are used in severe infections in which dehydration has occurred.
  • The prognosis of cholera ranges from excellent to poor. Rapid treatment with fluid and electrolytes result in better outcomes while people with other health problems beside cholera or those who are not rapidly replenished with fluid treatments tend to have a poorer prognosis.
  • Cholera can be prevented with appropriate measures such as safe drinking water and noncontaminated foods; some protection can be obtained from oral vaccines while avoiding areas where cholera commonly occurs or has had a recent outbreak.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/7/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/cholera/article.htm

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