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Cholera is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium ‘Vibrio cholerae’. This type of bacteria is usually present in contaminated foods. It is also found in places where there is a lack of sanitation facilities. This disease was first discovered in the US during the 1800s. Cholera disease has been causing severe issues for people for hundreds of years.
If this disease is left untreated, it might cause severe diarrhoea and would lead to dehydration in the body. Sometimes it might lead to a fatal condition.
Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of the disease. It is a curved and comma-shaped, Gram-negative bacterium. It is present in coastal saltwater areas and in sewage. They attach themselves to the shells of shellfish, crabs, etc. Drinking contaminated water leads to various diseases including cholera.
This bacterium lives in the small intestine of the human body which releases an exotoxin thus causing a flow of water and certain electrolytes such as sodium bicarbonate, chloride etc, into the small intestine.
Causes of Cholera
- It is caused due to factors like contaminated water supply.
- It arises due to the consumption of contaminated foods and drinks.
- The vegetables that are grown with the use of water with human wastes.
- The consumption of contaminated sea foods, which are polluted with sewage.
- Caused by the consumption of foods that affect the digestive system.
Symptoms of Cholera
Some of the symptoms of Cholera are listed below-
- High fever.
- Weight loss.
- Increased thirst.
- Feeling of nausea.
- Vomiting sensation.
- Bloating in the belly.
- Blood pressure becomes low.
- The elasticity of the skin is lost.
- Develop cramps in the muscles.
- A rapid increase in the heart rate.
- Dryness in the mouth, nose, and eyelids.
- Formation of blood or mucus or sometimes undigested materials in the stool.
Treatment of Cholera
The treatment for cholera includes the replacement of lost fluid and electrolytes. Drinking plenty of ORS (Oral rehydration solution) is advised to prevent dehydration. If the condition worsens, intravenous fluid replacement may be required. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics and zinc supplements to check diarrhoea.
Prevention of Cholera
The most important thing that one could do to avoid the disease is to prevent it. Cholera could be prevented by:
- Drink water which is boiled.
- Avoid consumption of raw foods.
- Avoid dairy products as much as possible.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before you eat.
- Washing your hands before you eat is a good way to keep the disease away.
- Drink plenty of water and it is recommended to drink about 8 ounces of water every day.
To know more about Cholera and other bacterial diseases, visit BYJU’S.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
How is cholera transmitted to others?
A person can get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with cholera bacteria. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the faeces of an infected person that contaminates water or food. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.