Cholera is an infection of the intestine by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

1. Cholera
Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.
Modern sewage and water treatment have virtually eliminated cholera in industrialized countries. The last major outbreak in the United States occurred in 1911. But cholera is still present in Africa, Southeast Asia, Haiti and central Mexico. The risk of cholera epidemic is highest when poverty, war or natural disasters force people to live in crowded conditions without adequate sanitation.
Cholera is easily treated. Death results from severe dehydration that can be prevented with a simple and inexpensive rehydration solution.

2. Symptoms
Most people exposed to the cholera bacterium Vibrio cholerae don t become ill and never know they ve been infected. Yet because they shed cholera bacteria in their stool for seven to 14 days, they can still infect others through contaminated water. Most symptomatic cases of cholera cause mild or moderate diarrhea that s often hard to distinguish from diarrhea caused by other problems.

3. Diarrhea
Cholera related diarrhea comes on suddenly and may quickly cause dangerous fluid loss as much as a quart about 1 liter an hour. Diarrhea due to cholera often has a pale, milky appearance that resembles water in which rice has been rinsed rice water stool .

4. Nausea and vomiting
Occurring especially in the early stages of cholera, vomiting may persist for hours at a time.

5. History of cholera
Cholera has likely been with humans for many centuries. Reports of cholera like disease have been found in India as early as 1000 AD. Cholera is a term derived from Greek khole illness from bile and later in the 14th century to colere French and choler English . In the 17th century, cholera was a term used to describe a severe gastrointestinal disorder involving diarrhea and vomiting. There were many outbreaks of cholera, and by the 16th century, some were being noted in history. England had several in the 19th century, most notable being in 1854, when Dr. John Snow did a classic study in London that showed a main source of the disease resulting in about 500 deaths in 10 days came from at least one of the major water sources for London residents termed the Broad Street pump. The pump handle was removed, and the cholera deaths slowed and stopped. The pump is still present as a landmark in London. Although Dr. Snow did not discover the cause of cholera, he did show how the disease could be spread and how to stop a local outbreak. This was the beginning of modern epidemiologic studies. The last reference shows the map Dr. Snow used to identify the pump site.

6. Dehydration
Dehydration can develop within hours after the onset of cholera symptoms. Depending on how many body fluids have been lost, dehydration can range from mild to severe. A loss of 10 percent or more of total body weight indicates severe dehydration.Signs and symptoms of cholera dehydration include irritability, lethargy, sunken eyes, a dry mouth, extreme thirst, dry and shriveled skin that s slow to bounce back when pinched into a fold, little or no urine output, low blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat arrhythmia .Dehydration may lead to a rapid loss of minerals in your blood electrolytes that maintain the balance of fluids in your body. This is called an electrolyte imbalance.

7. Muscle cramps
These result from the rapid loss of salts such as sodium, chloride and potassium.

8. Shock
This is one of the most serious complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body. If untreated, severe hypovolemic shock can cause death in a matter of minutes.

9. cholera in children
In general, children with cholera have the same signs and symptoms adults do, but they are particularly susceptible to low blood sugar hypoglycemia due to fluid loss.

10. When to see a doctor
The risk of cholera is slight in industrialized nations, and even in endemic areas you re not likely to become infected if you follow food safety recommendations. Still, sporadic cases of cholera occur throughout the world. If you develop severe diarrhea after visiting an area with active cholera, see your doctor.If you have diarrhea, especially severe diarrhea, and think you may have been exposed to cholera, seek treatment right away. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency that requires immediate care regardless of the cause.

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