Cholera is a serious bacterial disease that usually causes diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is typically spread through contaminated water.
In severe cases, immediate treatment is necessary because because death can occur within hours. This can happen even if your were healthy before you caught it.
Countries affected by war, poverty, and natural disasters have the greatest risk for a cholera outbreak. That's because these conditions tend to force people to live in crowded areas without proper sanitation.
Causes of Cholera
Cholera is caused by bacteria called Vibrio cholerae. The disease's deadly effects are the result of a strong toxin known as CTX that is produced by these bacteria in your small intestine. CTX interferes with the normal flow of sodium and chloride when it binds to your intestinal walls. When the bacteria attaches to the small intestine's walls, your body begins to secrete large amounts of water that lead to diarrhea and the rapid loss of fluids and salts.
Contaminated water supplies are the primary source of cholera infection. Uncooked fruits, vegetables, and other foods can also contain the bacteria that cause cholera. Cholera is not usually passed from person to person through usual contact.
Symptoms of cholera
The majority of people to exposed to cholera never become ill. In most cases, you may never you've been exposed. Once you are infected, you will continue to shed cholera bacteria in your stools, for 7 to 14 days. Cholera usually causes mild to moderate diarrhea, like other illnesses.
One in ten people who are infected will develop typical symptoms within 2 to 3 days after infection. Common symptoms of cholera include:
*Sudden onset of diarrhea
*Mild to severe dehydration
Children usually have the same cholera symptoms as adults. Children may also experience the following:
Preventing cholera infection
If you are traveling to an area where cholera is common, your chances of catching the disease are still low if you:
* Wash your hands
* Drink only bottled or boiled water
* Avoid raw food and shellfish
* Avoid diary foods
* Eat raw fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself
Since cholera vaccines don't work very well, and most people have a slim chance of catching cholera, your doctor is not likely to provide you with a vaccination.
If you have already had the vaccine are going to be in a country Where is a treat, you may need a second dose or booster of the vaccine.
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