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