Cholera is an infectious or communicable disease caused by the gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholera, the bacteria mainly affects water transportation in the small intestines (Ghose 164). Vibrio cholera produces a toxin (cholera toxin) that results in the severe loss of fluid from the body into the digestive tract; this leads to severe dehydration as a result of diarrhea. Thus, the disease is mainly characterized by the sudden diarrhea of watery stools and occasional vomiting. Additionally, in severe cases, some additional symptoms may follow, these includes loss of fluids, metabolic acidosis, and circulatory collapse.
Over 50% of individuals with severe cholera die within a few hours after the onset of the initial symptoms if left untreated (Bailey 15). However, with fast and appropriate treatment, death cases are less than 1% (Bailey 15). Mild cholera infections with moderate diarrhea also occur, asymptomatic cholera is also common. Cholera incubation period is normally between 2 to 5 days, in some cases, the disease incubates in a few hours (CNN Library 1). The prevalence of the cholera was high during the 1800s, this was especially due to the poor disposal of sewage water (poor sanitation), the same has led to modern outbreaks in the developing nations.
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Although the disease has led to great devastation in past centuries, it has contributed to medical advances. Some of the main advances that have emerged as a result of cholera include the development of medical microbiology, the science of epidemiology, and the development of the oral rehydration solution.
Bailey, Diane . Cholera. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2010.
CNN Library. “Cholera Fast Facts.” 24 May 2014. CNN. 28 April 2015.
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