Vibrio cholera is the type of bacteria that causes cholera, a diarrheal illness with symptoms that do not often appear in those suffering infection. Sometimes, the disease is more severe than others, which is why it is important to learn about it. Here are 10 facts about cholera:
- It can take up to five days for an infected individual to display symptoms, but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera can be fatal within a few hours of infection.
- Cholera was originally found in the Ganges delta in India during the 19th century.
- There have been six pandemics in which cholera spread to each continent.
- Warm and salty coastal waters are very conducive to growth of cholera.
- Cholera is transmitted through contaminated water, so impoverished and crisis-ridden areas are the highest risks for outbreak, according to the WHO.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 3-5 million cases of cholera each year and over 100,000 annual fatalities resulting from infection.
- The CDC estimates that one in 10 infected individuals will become severely ill with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps.
- Good hygiene practices, like boiling water or drinking only bottled water and proper hand washing can help prevent cholera infection.
- There is an oral vaccine that is not routinely recommended. There are two others, but they are not available in the U.S. at this time.
- Treatment focuses on replacing fluids lost through diarrhea. According to the CDC, when treatment is given properly in a timely manner, less than one percent of patients die.
These 10 facts about cholera show that preventative measures that can be taken to reduce chances of infection. They also enumerate the symptoms to look out. The CDC is currently investigating outbreaks to learn more about cholera, and the U.S. Agency for International Development provides countries with water and sanitation supplies to help prevent spread. The above facts can shed some light on what these organizations are doing to combat cholera and why what they are doing is important.
– Helen Barker