Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strains of the Bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. It is an infectious disease that cause several watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated.
Cholera is mostly spread through unsafe water and food that has been contaminated with human faeces containing the bacteria.
World health organization (WHO) has estimated that cholera affect 3-5million people worldwide and causes 28,800-130,000 deaths a year. Cholera is widely spread throughout South-east Asia, India and parts of Africa.
The last outbreak of cholera in the united states occurred in 1910-1911
In developed countries, due to nearly universal advanced water treatment and sanitation practice, cholera is no longer a major health threat
Mode Of Transmission
The bacteria are found in water contaminated by infected faeces from cholera patients. They enter our body when we take in contaminated food and water, or come in contact with the faeces, urine or oral secretions of an infected person. The disease can also spread by the housefly. CLICK HERE
Symptoms Of Cholera
When the bacteria reach the intestines, they multiply rapidly and secrete an enzyme, mucinase, which disgest the mucus lining the intestinal membranes. The exposed intestinal wall becomes damaged by the endotoxins produced by the bacteria, resulting to severe diarrhoea, usually accompanied by acute abdominal pain and vomiting.
The faeces are watery full of bacteria. It is known as “Rice water stool ” because of its appearance. Owing to the frequent and large quantities of water lost in the faeces, the patient becomes severely dehydrated, and if left untreated, death occurs in less than 24 hours in extreme cases.
Treatment Of Cholera
The main treatment is to prevent dehydration of the body. This is done by injecting large quantities of Saline Solution into the vains of the patient so that the water content of his cell is brought back to normal.
Vaccines For Cholera
* Durkoral: An orally administered , inactivated whole cell vaccine.
* Oral attenuated live vaccine that is effective as a single does
Control/Prevention Of Cholera
Cholera can be controlled by vaccination, which however only gives a temporary protection of up to six months.
The following methods can be used in the control of cholera.
* Sanitation Proper sanitation and habits should be observed to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated by infected urine and faeces.
* Sewage Antibacterial treatment of general sewage by chlorine.
* Water purification Bacteria are easily killed by heat. Therefore, drinking boiled water and eating thoroughly disinfected.
* Cholera patients should be kept isolated in hospitals
* Public education Educating people on appropriate sanitation practices are of primary importance to help prevent and control transmission of cholera and other diseases.
CLICK HERE To learn about the Micro-Organisms causing this bacteria and how to prevent it