Travel Health

From: Travel Health Information and Advice

Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae.

Symptoms of Cholera
Symptoms often start anywhere between a few hours to a couple of days after ingesting the bacteria, which in severe cases will need immediate medical attention. Symptoms often include:

Cause of Cholera
Cholera is caused by consuming the bacteria known as Vibrio Cholerae often through drinking contaminated water or through foods such as raw shellfish, and in areas where cholera is endemic uncooked fruits and vegetables can also be contaminated.

Once the bacteria enter the human body they pass through the stomach and on to the small intestine and it from here that the bacteria start producing toxic proteins which give the patients the extremely watery diarrhoea which carries out the bacteria to infect again.

For reasons, as yet unknown, people with O blood type seem to be at a much higher risk of developing Cholera so should be vigilant in affected areas. People with compromised immune system are also at a much higher risk.

Areas Infected
Cholera is often linked with developing countries where poor sanitation is often to blame for the disease and rapid spread of the disease.

Testing For Cholera
The symptoms alone in endemic areas are usually enough for diagnosis, however a stool samples are often tested to identify the bacteria.

Preventing Cholera
In countries where water treatment and good sanitation practises are not followed the risk of Cholera is increased.

Treatment for Cholera
Some cases of Cholera are mild and pass fairly quickly however in many cases especially where children are involved prompt treatment is essential as Cholera can be fatal if left to run its course.

The use of antibiotics are widely used and fluid replacement is essential due to the large amount of fluid loss through diarrhoea that takes place.