Causes of Cholera
The causative organism of cholera is a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. Cholera is transmitted by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium.
Raw or undercooked seafood may be a source of infection in areas where cholera is prevalent Floodwaters can carry V. cholerae and contaminate drinking water supplies.
The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill with cholera.
After the organisms are taken into the body, they pass the acid barrier of the stomach and begin to multiply in the alkaline environment of the small intestine. The bacteria attach themselves to the microvilli of the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract where they multiply and produce a potent ‘enterotoxin’ known as ‘cholera toxin’. Cholera toxin is responsible for increased secretion of water and electrolytes in stools from the intestines leading to dehydration, shock, acidosis and death.