Cholera is an infection that affects the small intestine and can cause a range of uncomfortable health conditions including watery diarrhea in very large amounts. Therefore, that is the main symptom and often the worst one aside from general pain and discomfort. Like most infections, Cholera is caused by a bacteria; this one from Vibrio Cholerae. If you think you might have Cholera, the following will help you learn more about the infection including its causes, symptoms and treatments. The possible complications of Cholera include dehydration and death from the dehydration without proper fluids and treatments.
Causes of Cholera
The bacteria vibrio cholera is what causes Cholera. This bacteria releases a toxin that can increase the amount of water from cells in the intestines, which goes on to produce the severe case of watery diarrhea. Cholera is most common in places with famine, crowding, war and poor sanitation. The most common places or Cholera outbreak are Africa, Asia, Mexico, India, South and Central America. Cholera is contracted through contaminated water or food. People traveling to these areas should be careful about what they eat or drink.
Symptoms of Cholera
Symptoms of Cholera range from mild to severe, with the most common symptom being foul-smelling and watery diarrhea. Aside from the severe watery diarrhea, symptoms of Cholera include dry mucus membranes, abdominal cramps, excessive thirst, dry skin, sunken or glassy eyes, nausea, lack of tears, lethargy, low urine output, rapid dehydration, rapid heart rate, unusual fatigue, vomiting and soft spots in infants.
Diagnosing and Treating Cholera
The main tests that will determine whether or not someone has Cholera are a stool culture and a blood culture. The main course of treatment is hydrating the person dealing with Cholera and replacing the missing fluid and electrolytes. This is done either by mouth or intravenously through an IV in their veins depending on how severe the case of Cholera is. Antibiotics are often given in the beginning, such as doxycycline or tetracycline. Cholera is a potentially life-threatening disease due to the high levels of dehydration, though most people make a full recovery when they are given the right types of fluids.
While many different vaccines are available for world travelers, there is not currently a vaccine for Cholera in the United States as it is not recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When traveling to other countries, use caution when choosing what to eat or drink, avoiding drinking the water if it is in a country with a high risk factor of Cholera such as Africa, South America, or Mexico. If you show any signs of Cholera, contact a doctor immediately and return to the United States as soon as possible.