NOV 05, 2016 06:33 PM PDT

How Cholera Affects the Body

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

According to the Centers for Disease Control, although it remains rare in the United States and other parts of the developed world, cholera cases are on the rise in many areas. It is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, which lives in water or food that has been fouled with excrement from an cholera-infected person. Poor water quality is a primary driver of the spread of cholera.

In the video, the process behind the disease caused by the bacterium is explained. Symptoms can range from mild to very severe, and in roughly five to ten percent of cases, afflicted people die from the infection. Cramps in the legs accompany serious diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to such devastating loss of body fluids that dehydration and shock set in. Death can then occur within only a few hours.

Treatment can be as simple as replenishing the fluids and salts that were lost from the body orally, although serious cases can require intravenous administration. Antibiotics can also shorten the duration and lessen the severity of cholera, but patient rehydration is paramount. Two cholera vaccines are also available, but supply is too limited to help those is the poorest parts of the world.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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