Cholera: Definition, Symptoms, Cause, Treatment

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Cholera: Definition, Symptoms, Cause, Treatment

Published on Aug 06, 2021

What is Cholera?

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention; Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio Cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. WebMD defines cholera as an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. Getting a proper understanding of WebMD’s definition, the article will define what diarrhea is. Diarrhea is a watery stool that occurs more frequently than normal. There are many common causes of diarrhea ranging from food to drinks, allergies, medications, diseases, and infection.

Causes of Cholera

Food and water contaminated by the cholera bacteria, Vibrio Cholerae is the major cause of cholera. The food and water get contaminated by feces from a person with the infection. The mode of transmission is feco-oral. With that in mind, there are various places and items that cholera bacteria commonly reside in.These places and items include but are not limited to:

  • Public water supplies
  • Food and drink sold on the street
  • Undercooked food (vegetables and meat alike)
  • In the toilet
  • On your hands (not properly washing hands after toilet use)


 Symptoms of cholera can be mild, and in some cases, symptoms might not persist. It is also important to note that it can also be severe. Symptoms can present themselves immediately after infection or five days later. You will be looking for symptoms likely watery diarrhea followed by vomiting which may lead to dehydration if unchecked. It is important to note the symptoms of dehydration as it can elude an individual. Symptoms such as:

  •  Dry and thirsty mouth
  • Muscle cramp
  • Weakness
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sunken eyeballs


 Getting infected by cholera can be prevented if certain measures are adhered to. These steps to follow are not so difficult to follow and some involve a slight change in eating habits.

  • Ensure that water used for drinking and any other purposes is properly boiled or chemically disinfected.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat and vegetables.
  • Fruits and vegetables that can be consumed raw should be washed properly with treated water.
  • Purchasing food and drinks from street vendors should be greatly reduced or stopped.


 A vaccine for cholera is out the, but the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a laid down-regulation on who should get the vaccine.

Irrespective of the vaccine, there are treatment or management plans for curing cholera (Yes, cholera is totally curable). Treatment like; Antibiotic use, fluid therapy, and electrolyte replacement. These treatments can be specific and tailored to one or more patients. Having a consultation with a doctor can help in establishing the best treatment for you.

To talk to our in-house doctor about your symptoms, call or send a WhatsApp message to: 08081111121.


Cholera - Vibrio cholerae infection