CholeraCholera Description, Causes and Risk Factors: Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera is an infection of the small intestine. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe. Types: Cholera infantum, pancreatic,  morbus, asiatic, sicca, and typhoid. Cholera has been very rare in industrialized nations for the last 100 years; however, the disease is still common today in other parts of the world, including the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae (V. cholerae). There are more than 100 serotypes of V. cholerae, but there are only two types that affect humans: V. cholerae O1.
  • V. cholerae O139.
Vibrio cholerae is a comma-shaped, curved gram negative rods, which are motile. Vibrio cholerae produces a toxic substance called "enterotoxin" this causes cholera. The bacterium that causes cholera, Vibrio cholerae, has two distinct life cycles — one in the environment and one in humans. This bacteria can lie dormant in water for long periods, and contaminated public wells are frequent sources of large-scale cholera outbreaks. A person may get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the feces (stool) of an infected person. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water. Contaminated water supplies are the main source of infection, although raw shellfish, uncooked fruits and vegetables, and other foods also can harbor cholera bacteria. 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. Symptoms: Symptoms include: Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Profuse diarrhea with abdominal cramps.\
  • Profound dehydration.
  • Fever.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Circulatory collapse.
  • Anuria.
Diagnosis and Tests: In order to make a  diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions includes: 1. Recent history of foods or drinks. 2. Recent travel history. 3. Current medical conditions. 4. Current medicines. If the doctor suspects the disease, he or she will ask for a stool sample for examination. Microscopic Examination: Dark field Microscopic examination of stool sample shows rapidly motile Vibrio bacteria. Cultural Characters: 1. Peptone water is inoculated with fresh stool and incubated 8 hours. 2. Alkaline nutrient agar plates are streaked and incubated overnight. 3. Transparent colonies are tested for agglutination with anti-cholera O serum. 4. Vibrio cholerae are further identified by slide agglutination tests using anti-O group 1 antiserum and by biochemical reactions. Treatment: The main treatment for cholera is to replace the fluids that you have lost through diarrhea. Your body will then usually fight off the infection by itself. You should drink enough fluids to replace those you have lost. Infection  can be adequately treated by administering oral rehydration salts to replace the loss of fluids and salts. In severely dehydrated persons it should be given as Intravenous. In severe cases; an effective antibiotic treatment can reduce the volume and duration of diarrhea and the period of Vibrio excretion. Disclaimer: The following tests, drugs and medications, surgical procedures are in some way related to, or used in the treatment. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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