What is Cholera ?

what-is-choleraCholera is a caused by the bacterium vibrio cholerae. The bacteria are transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water with feces. If cholera is untreated ,it can be life-threatening because body loses a lot of liquid and becomee dry.

Cholera pathogen can lead to massive fluid loss up to 20 litres a day in the intestine.Onset of chlore shows symptoms as watery diarrhea,fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes severe muscle spasms and metabolic imbalance can occur due to the large loss of fluid and salts (electrolytes). This can lead to circulatory shock. If it is untreated , circulatory collapse and renal failure may lead to death.

The most important measure of treatment for cholera is the fastest possible replacement of fluid and electrolytes. For this purpose, drinkable solutions and infusions must be given to patient.In addition,sometimes doctor prescribes antibiotics (Tetracycline, Ciprofloxacin, co-trimoxazole, quinolones or macrolide antibiotics). Cholera is adequately treated.Mortality rate is under one percent.

It occurs mainly in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.If youa are travelling to regions where cholera often occurs, you need to follow measures for cholera.


What are the Causes of Cholera?

Cause of cholera is an infection with the bacterium vibrio cholerae which belongs to the genus vibrio.

Especially two excitation groups cause the disease :

  • Serogroup O1
  • Serogroup O139

Especially serogroup O1 is responsible for cholera spread.

Even if a person has survived from cholera,there can be still pathogens in survived people’s faeces. The time between infection with  virus and the onset of disease can be a few hours to five days. First symptoms usually occur after two to three days.

Transmission

Cholera pathogens reach through contaminated water with stool or contaminated food in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. The stomach acid kills the biggest part of the acid-sensitive cholera pathogen.Therefore, cholera infection occurs only when a large number of pathogens enter the body.

Cholera bacteria can multiply and survive in the small instestine.Then,they penetrate the mucosa layer of the intestinal mucosa and enter the intestinal epithelial cells. There,cholera pathogens contact to intestinal mucosa cells and produce cholera toxin.


Cholera Symptoms

Cholera can lead to various symptoms. The majority of infected people with cholera also have not symptoms. Nevertheless, symptom-free Infected people excrete bacteria in their stool up to two weeks.That is why ,these people are also called as ‘’ silent carriers’’.

In general, cholera is very mild and mild form of cholera causes symptoms such as :

cholera-symptoms

In severe cases, sufferers lose up to 20 liters of fluid per day because of severe diarrhea. The body dries out in a short time. In addition to severe cholera,there can be strong muscle cramps in the calves.It can cause renal failure and circulatory collapse. The blood can thicken as a result of fluid loss so strong that it causes occlusions in smaller blood vessels (thrombosis).


Cholera Diagnosis

Accurate diagnosis of cholera requires an examination of stool, vomit or rectal swabs.Then,evidence of cholera pathogen confirms the diagnosis. Cholera pathogens are very sensitive to dry air conditions.Therefore, samples must be kept moist during transport to the laboratory or must be tranported quickly.

In cases of suspected cholera, the disease must be reported immediately to the local health authority.


Cholera Treatment

Rapid replacement of the lost fluid, electrolytes and sugar (glucose) is in the first place in the treatment of cholera.

In severe cases of cholera sufferers lose enormous amounts of liquid. Then infusions are necessary through the veins in order to compensate the losses.In addition, administration of antibiotics are as early as possible advisable, for example:

  • Tetracycline
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Cotrimoxazole
  • Quinolones
  • Macrolides

Antibiotics may kill the bacteria in the intestine, but can not fix the fluid loss.


Cholera Process and Prognosis

In about 80 percent of all cholera cases are mild course which symptoms appear. Cholera can be confused with other diarrheal diseases. Less than 20 percent of patients have serious symptoms which can be life-threatening, if it is not treated. With appropriate treatment,cholera sufferers survive more than 99 percent.


How to Prevent Cholera ?

Cholera can be prevented by stayinh away from travel to areas where disease occurs frequently or conduct certain measures for disease.

Cholera is one of the quarantine diseases, such as, for example:

  • Ebola
  • Plague
  • Yellow fever

If cholera is confirmed by health professionals, patient must be isolated in a single room.

If you are in countries or continents where there have been many cholera-cases (e.g., South America), some of the rules are important to prevent infection of cholera.

  • Do not drink untreated water,
  • Use germ-clean-free water to teeth clean
  • Do not use ice cubes
  • Peel fruit and vegetables or consume them cooked
  • Be careful with seafood, such as mussels. These foods can contain cholera pathogen and also can increase hepatitis A virus.
  • Avoid uncooked food like milk products (e.g. ice cream)
  • Ensure fish and meat is cooked or fried.
  • Avoid using public swimming pools, rivers or lagoons.
  • Pay attention to hygiene after using the toilet

You can also have cholera vaccine to prevent risk of disease.

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