Today(23.7.2012) it is reported in the News that 70 persons in Chennai are hospitalised with severe diarrhoea, a symptom of Cholera and one person is reported to be dead. It is also reported in the newspaper(The Times of India,Chennai dt.23.7.2012) that the unclean city could face the cholera very soon. It is better to know about the disease and it prevention and control.
What is Cholera Disease?
- Cholera disease causes a lot of watery diarrhea and vomiting
- Cholera diarrhea can look like cloudy rice water
- Cholera can cause death from dehydration (the loss of water and salts from the body) within hours if not treated
*Cholera is an infection in the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
The main symptoms are profuse, watery diarrhea and vomiting.
Transmission occurs primarily by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms. The severity of the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, and death in some cases.
The primary treatment isoral rehydration therapy, typically with oral rehydration solution (ORS), to replace water and electrolytes. If this is not tolerated or does not provide improvement fast enough, intravenous fluids can also be used.
Antibacterial drugs are beneficial in those with severe disease to shorten its duration and severity. Worldwide, it affects 3–5 million people and causes 100,000–130,000 deaths a year as of 2010. Cholera was one of the earliest infections to be studied by epidemiological methods.
How is Cholera Spread?
- Cholera germs are found in the feces (poop) of infected people
- Cholera is spread when feces (poop) from an infected person gets into the water people drink or the food people eat
- Cholera is not likely to spread directly from one person to another
Prevention and Control
The risk for cholera is very low for people visiting areas with epidemic cholera. When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease is unlikely.
What to do if you think that you or someone in your family has cholera
- If you have oral rehydration solution (ORS), start taking it now; it can save your life
- Go immediately to the nearest health facility. Continue to drink ORS at home and while you travel to get treatment
- Continue to breastfeed your baby if they have watery diarrhea, even when traveling to get treatment
All people (visitors or residents) in areas where cholera is occurring or has occurred should be aware of the basic cholera facts and observe five basic cholera prevention recommendations.
Five Basic Cholera Prevention Messages