About cholera

What is cholera? Learn more about vibrio cholerae, the signs and symptoms of cholera and find information on causes, prevention and treatment here.

Sources of cholera

Cholera is contracted when people drink water or eat food that has been fecally contaminated by the bacteria.

Causes of cholera

Vibrio cholera, the bacterium that causes cholera has two life cycles: one in the environment and one in humans.

What causes cholera?

Most people contract cholera through drinking water or eating food that has been fecally contaminated by the bacteria.

Risk factors of cholera

Everyone is susceptible to cholera, except nursing babies who have immunity through their mother’s milk. However, certain factors can make you more vulnerable to the disease.

Treatment of cholera

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

Complications of cholera

If not treated immediately cholera could become fatal. In the most severe cases, the quick loss of huge amounts of body fluids and electrolytes could lead to death.

Prevention of cholera

Although there is a vaccine for cholera, it offers only limited immunity and the jury is out about whether or not travellers should be vaccinated.

What is cholera?

"Cholera is an acute illness that results in profuse watery diarrhoea," explains Professor Willem Sturm, Head of the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases department at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban.

Symptoms of cholera

The onset of cholera is usually sudden, with incubation periods ranging from six hours to five days.

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