|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative Names Return to topV. cholerae; Vibrio
Definition Return to top
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that causes a large amount of watery diarrhea.
Causes Return to top
Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The bacteria releases a toxin that causes increased release of water in the intestines, which produces severe diarrhea.
Cholera occurs in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine. Common locations for cholera include:
People get the infection by ingesting contaminated food or water.
A type of vibrio bacteria also has been associated with shellfish, especially raw oysters.
Risk factors include:
Symptoms Return to top
Note: Symptoms can vary from mild to severe.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment Return to top
The objective of treatment is to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through diarrhea. Depending on your condition, you may be given fluids by mouth or through a vein (intravenous). Antibiotics may shorten the time you feel ill.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed an oral rehydration solution that is cheaper and easier to use than the typical intravenous fluid. This solution of sugar and electrolytes is now being used internationally.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Severe dehydration can cause death. Given adequate fluids, most people will make a full recovery.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if :
Prevention Return to top
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend cholera vaccines for most travelers. (Such a vaccine is not available in the United States.)
Travelers should always take precautions with food and drinking water, even if vaccinated.
When outbreaks of cholera occur, efforts should be directed toward establishing clean water, food, and sanitation, because vaccination is not very effective in managing outbreaks.
References Return to top
Gotuzzo E, Seas C. Cholera and other vibrio infections. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 325.Update Date: 2/21/2009 Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.