Cholera (intestinal bacterial infection)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Cholera (intestinal bacterial infection) (Disease)


Cholera, commonly met in Africa, Asia, India and South America, is a disease characterised by the release of a toxin that causes increased release of water in the intestines, which produces severe diarrhea. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms.

Symptoms include: watery diarrhea that starts suddenly and has a fishy odor; abdominal cramps; nausea; vomiting; dry mucus membranes or mouth; dry skin; excessive thirst; glassy or sunken eyes; lack of tears; lethargy; low urine output; rapid dehydration; rapid pulse; unusual sleepiness or tiredness. Dehydration may lead to a rapid loss of minerals in your blood called electrolytes, which maintain the balance of fluids in your body, which can lead to muscle crams and shock. Beside dehydration, other problems can occur, such as: hypoglycemia, hypokalemia, renal failure.

Causes and Risk factors

Cholera is the small intestine infection that occurs due to the Vibrio cholerae bacteria.

Risk factors for cholera include: poor sanitary conditions, reduced or nonexistent stomach acid (hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria), household exposure, type O blood, raw or undercooked shellfish.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is based on blood and stool culture.

The goal of the treatment is rehydration to replace fluids an electrolytes loss. During a cholera epidemic, most people can be helped by oral rehydration alone, but severely dehydrated people may also need intravenous fluids. Antibiotics can also be prescribed. ...

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