Cholera: Causes and Symptoms

Main symptoms of Cholera that is diarrhea and vomiting are somewhat similar to food poisoning. Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae transmitted through intake of food or water contaminated by the feces of the infected person while food poisoning occurs through use of infected or stale food. Cholera can affect any one in any age.

Causes of Cholera

Cholera is caused by:

  • Poor hygiene and bad sanitation that can exist in camps, slums and even at home where such conditions exist in the developing or under developed countries. There are many countries with improper or no sanitation at all in their small towns and villages. Such conditions can be commonly seen in South Asian countries. Thus the risk of outbreak of cholera as epidemic in such areas is always there.
  • Eating from unhygienic places.
  • Lack of potable water. A huge section of the world’s population lacks clean drinking water. In certain areas some people are compelled to drink even from the community ponds.
  • Use of unclean utensils etc. Cooking and eating utensils washed in unclean water can lead to cholera particularly if the utensils have been washed in the water taken from community ponds.

Symptoms of Cholera

The symptoms usually appear suddenly due to a very short incubation period and become sever right away. Common symptoms are:

  • Sever diarrhea and vomiting, which can be very frequent and profuse causing rapid dehydration. The severity of dehydration weakens the patient and can lead even to death. If cholera outbreaks as epidemic, the death rate can be quite high.
  • In many cases, food or water is vomited out as soon as it reaches the stomach.
  • Mild to sever abdominal pain.
  • Mild or no fever at all. In fact the temperature may drop due to dehydration.
  • General weakness due to dehydration.

If the sufferer is already weak in the body, the effects of cholera can be severer and even fatal. Weak and under nourished persons particularly the children in poor countries are easy targets of cholera.