Cholera

05 February 2013

How is cholera treated?

Although antibiotics may shorten the duration and severity of the symptoms, rehydration is the most important part of the treatment regime. Successful treatment requires the replacement of fluids and salts lost through diarrhoea.

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 Although cholera can be life-threatening, it's easily prevented and treated. Successful treatment requires the replacement of fluids and salts lost through diarrhoea.

Depending on the condition of the patient, a pre-packed mixture of sugar and salts can be mixed with water and drunk in large quantities.

If the patient is too weak to drink, fluids must be given intravenously. With prompt rehydration, less than 1% of cholera patients die.
Although antibiotics may shorten the duration and severity of the symptoms, they're not as important as rehydration. Rehydration is the most important part of the treatment regime. For really ill patients, antibiotics that are known to be active against the infecting bacterium, such as tetracycline or ciprofloxacin may be administered.

(Previously reviewed by Professor Willem Sturm, Head of the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases department at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban)

(Reviewed by Dr Miscka Moodley, Microbiologist, UCT, March 2011)

 

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