What is it?
Cholera is an infection of the digestive tract (or gut) caused by bacteria Vibrio cholerae. In some developing countries where Vibrio cholerae is present, bacteria contaminates drinking water, uncooked seafood and other foods. Modern sewage and water treatment have virtually eliminated cholera in industrialized countries, but cholera is still present in a part of the world, including India.
What are the symptoms?
- Diarrhoea comes on suddenly and may quickly cause dehydration. Diarrhoea due to cholera often has a pale, milky appearance that resembles water in which rice has been rinsed (rice-water stool).
- Nausea and vomiting occurs in the early stages of cholera.
- Dehydration develops within hours after the onset of cholera symptoms. It can range from mild, moderate to severe dehydration. A loss of 10 percent or more of total body weight indicates severe dehydration.
- Other symptoms include irritability, lethargy, sunken eyes, a dry mouth, extreme thirst, dry and shriveled skin that’s slow to bounce back when pinched into a fold, little or no urine output, low blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with cholera:
- Ensure you maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and running water for 10 seconds after using the toilet to avoid infecting other people.
- Do not prepare food for other people.