What is Cholera?
Cholera is an infectious condition which leads to severe watery diarrhea causing dehydration. It may also result in death if left untreated. Having food or water contaminated with Vibrio cholerae, a type of bacteria causes cholera. Cholera is more common in places having poor sanitation facilities, crowding, famine and war. Even though measures are taken to eradicate this disease, still it poses a great threat to mankind in different parts of the world. World Health Organization receives reports of at least 150,000 cases every year.
Causes of Cholera
The main culprit is Vibrio cholerae which is a bacterium. It is normally found in water or food which is contaminated by the feces of a person with the infection. Common sources of this bacterium include the following:
- Drinks and foods sold by street vendors
- Raw or under cooked fish and also seafood from waters contaminated with sewage
- Ice from municipal water
- Municipal water supplies
- Vegetables grown with water containing human wastes
The bacteria present in the contaminated food or water releases a toxin in the intestines which causes severe diarrhea. It is very unlikely that you’ll catch this condition, just from a casual contact with a person suffering from cholera.
Symptoms of Cholera
Cholera symptoms may begin within a few hours or may take as long as five days after the infection. In most cases, the cholera symptoms are usually mild. At times they can also be very serious. About one in 20 infected people may experience severe watery diarrhea along with vomiting and this may quickly result in dehydration. Some people may have only mild or no symptoms but still may contribute for the spread of the infection.
Dehydration: Signs & Symptoms
- Skin elasticity decreases
- Heart rate which is rapid
- Low BP
- Cramps in the muscle
- Dryness in the mucous membranes like mouth, nose, throat and eyelids
Dehydration if left untreated may also lead to shock and death within hours.