Cholera is a condition caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection affects the small intestine and produces symptoms two hours to five days after being exposed to the bacterium. The severity of the disease depends on the type of Vibrio cholera that causes the disease. Cholera is usually transmitted by the consumption of food or water that is contaminated with infected feces. Another common source is undercooked seafood. Risk factors of cholera include drinking unclean water, poor sanitation, and poverty.
Cholera can be diagnosed through a stool test. Prevention of the disease includes improving access to clean water and better sanitation. The cholera vaccine can be given orally, and it offers protection for a duration of six months. Cholera is primarily treated using oral rehydration therapy, zinc supplementation, intravenous fluids, and antibiotics.
Cholera affects approximately 3 to 5 million people, with a total of 28,800 to 130,000 deaths annually. It is rarely seen in the developed world. Cholera most commonly occurs as an outbreak in areas such as Africa and Southeast Asia. The risk of death ranges from 5 to 50 percent, depending on the severity and treatment of the disease.
Symptom #1: Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is a sensation of unease and discomfort that often includes an urge to vomit. Vomiting is the involuntary and forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth and sometimes the nose.
Both nausea and vomiting are common and nonspecific symptoms that can be observed in many conditions, such as pregnancy, food poisoning, anxiety, and infections (whether viral, bacterial, or parasitic). These symptoms can cause a loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.