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Sunday, 18 November 2018


Cholera is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium which infects the intestinal tract of humans. This tropical disease is widespread throughout south east Asia, India and parts of Africa.

Causative organism:

   The causative organism is a gram negative bacterium (vibrio cholerae or V. eltor). It is a comma shaped vibrio with a flagellum which propels its through water.

Mode of transmission:

  The bacteria are found in water contaminated by infected faeces from cholera patients. They enter out body when we take in contaminated food and water , or come in contact with the faeces, urine or oral secretions of an infected person. The disease can also be spread by the housefly.


    When the bacteria reach the intestines, they multiply rapidly and secrete an enzyme, mucinase, which digests  the mucus lining the membranes. The exposed intestinal wall becomes damaged by the endotoxins produced by the bacteria, resulting in severe diarrhoea, usually accompanied by acute abdominal pain and vomiting. The faeces are watery and full of bacteria. It is known as 'rice water stool' because of its appearance. Owing to the frequent and large quantities of water lost in the faeces, the patient becomes severely dehydrated, and if left untreated, death occurs in less than 24 hours in extreme cases.


   The main treatment is to prevent dehydration of the body. This is done by injecting large quantities of saline solution into the veins of the patient so that the water content of his cell is brought back to normal.


   Cholera can be controlled by vaccination, which however only gives a temporary protection of up to six months.

    The following methods can be used in the control of cholera.

• prosper sanitation and habits should be observed to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated by infected urine and faeces.

• the cholera bacteria are easily killed by heat . therefore, drinking boiled water and eating thoroughly cooked food prevent infection.

• Cholera patients should be kept isolated in hospitals and their personal articles must be thoroughly disinfected.

• since the common housefly is the vector of the disease , measures should be adopted to discourage its breeding. Also , always keep cooked food covered.