DefinitionCholera is an infectious disease that affects the intestinal tract.
CausesCholera is caused by a specific bacteria. This bacterium releases a toxin that causes rapid loss of fluids from the small intestines. Cholera is spread by ingesting food or water contaminated by fecal waste. It is common in countries that lack proper sewage disposal.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Risk FactorsCholera is more common in children 2-5 years of age. Other factors that increase your chance of cholera include:
- Living or traveling in areas where cholera is present
- Eating contaminated food or fluids
- Eating raw or undercooked shellfish
- Having blood group O
- Having a weakened immune system
- Having low levels of stomach acid
SymptomsSymptoms of cholera begin quickly and can be severe. They include:
- Sudden onset of painless, watery diarrhea without blood or pus
- Muscle cramps
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It is important to tell your doctor about any recent travel to areas where cholera is common. If cholera is suspected, stool and blood samples will be tested.
Fluid ReplacementThe first priority in treating cholera is to replace fluids and electrolytes lost through diarrhea. In severe cases, dehydration can be fatal if it is not treated right away. Hydration solutions can be given orally or through an IV.
AntibioticsAntibiotic medications may help shorten the course of the disease in severe cases. They may also be given to the people you live with to prevent them from becoming ill.
More from Beliefnet
A randomized trial found that fecal microbiota transplantation had a higher rate of remission in patients with active ulcerative colitis than those who recieved placebo. Fecal transplantation is believed to help the intestine develop a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut which can help the intestine recover and function more effectively.
Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight
Mindful Meditation May Reduce Symptoms and Complications of Insomnia
Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery