Cholera, also known as Asiatic Cholera
or Epidemic Cholera, is a bacterial
disease that causes acute diarrhea.
Cholera spreads prolifically and can
become a raging epidemic. If cholera
is not treated, it may quickly lead
to death resulting from the dehydration
caused by severe diarrhea. Immediate
treatment is required, and this usually
involves the use of Oral or Intravenous
Causes and Risk Factors
Cholera is caused by
bacteria called Vibrio Cholerae. An
individual may contract cholera by consuming
food or water that is contaminated by
these bacteria. Improper disposal of
sewage water or untreated drinking water
are often responsible for the contamination
that leads to the contraction of cholera.
Undercooked or raw seafood, particularly
shellfish, and uncooked fruits and vegetables,
may also harbor these bacteria.
These bacteria may not infect the individual
as they enter the human body system.
However, they become excreted in the
stool which ultimately contaminates
the environment. Cholera spreads rapidly
this way and an epidemic quickly begins.
The risk of experiencing
a cholera epidemic is the highest in
situations where living conditions are
inadequately sanitized. For instance,
outbreaks of cholera may occur when
poverty, war or natural disasters force
individuals to live in crowded and unhygienic
conditions. Cholera is rarely experienced
in developed countries such as the United
States, but individuals who are traveling
to foreign countries wherein cholera
outbreaks are common may be subject
to risk. Asia, the Middle East, Latin
America, and sub-Saharan Africa have
reported epidemic levels of cholera.