Cholera is an infection of the small intestine and is
caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It is characterized by sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea and
Cholera is an infection of the
small intestine and is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Vibrio cholerae
produces a toxin called
‘enterotoxin’ which causes the symptoms of cholera.
of cholera bacteria called El Tor biotype tends to cause milder disease than
the classic biotype.
In more than 90% of affected
people, the illness is of mild or moderate severity and is difficult to
distinguish clinically from other forms of diarrheal diseases. Less than 10% of
infected persons develop typical cholera with signs of moderate or severe
dehydration that can sometimes lead to death. The
mortality rate without treatment is between 25% and 50%.
Cholera is endemic in India and Southeast Asia.
Cholera outbreaks can occur sporadically in any part of the world where water
supplies, sanitation, food safety and hygiene practices are inadequate.
Cholera is most frequently transmitted by food and water sources contaminated
with the causative bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
Cholera is diagnosed by patient
history and stool examination. The main treatment for cholera is fluid and
electrolyte replacement either orally or intravenously. In severe cases, an effective antibiotic
can reduce the volume and duration of diarrhea and the period of Vibrio cholerae