Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. This bacterium is the culprit behind this disease. It spreads rapidly in areas lacking safe drinking water and proper sanitation, primarily due to poor sanitation and contaminated water sources. This disease has caused numerous pandemics globally, showcasing its long-standing history. In this article, we will delve into the details of this disease.

Stomach Pain Due to Cholera

History of Cholera

Humans have known about cholera for centuries, with evidence of the disease dating back to ancient times. However, this disease had its first pandemic in the early 19th century. It started in the Ganges Delta of India and spread rapidly throughout the world via trade routes. Since then, this disease has caused several pandemics. The most recent one happening in the 21st century. Cholera has caused significant morbidity and mortality. And it still poses a significant threat to global public health.

The Importance of Understanding Cholera

Cholera, a disease linked to poverty, mainly impacts people residing in regions where access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities is inadequate. When this disease spreads, the consequences can be devastating, especially in areas with fragile health systems. The disease swiftly surpasses the healthcare system’s capabilities. Hence, comprehending this disease holds immense importance in the field of public health. It allows for the effective implementation of preventive measures and treatment strategies.

In the next section, we will discuss the causes and transmission of this disease.

Causes and Transmission of Cholera

The bacterium Vibrio cholerae causes cholera, and it is usually found in contaminated water or food sources. People get the disease by consuming contaminated water or food. Especially in places with poor sanitation and hygiene. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, and a lack of safe drinking water can increase the chances of transmission. When the bacteria enter the body. They produce a toxin that results in severe diarrhea and dehydration, which can be life-threatening if not treated.

The following are the causes and transmission of this disease:

Bacterium Vibrio cholerae

Cholera, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, infects humans. You can typically find this bacterium in contaminated water or food, particularly in places with inadequate sanitation and hygiene. It generates a toxin that impacts the intestinal cell lining. Which results in extreme diarrhea and dehydration.

Fecal-Oral Transmission

Cholera spreads through the fecal-oral route, meaning an infected person’s feces can transmit the bacterium to another person’s mouth. This happens when people consume water tainted with feces or eat food washed or prepared with contaminated water. In regions lacking proper sanitation, this disease swiftly spreads through water sources, food markets, and public places.

Risk Factors for Cholera

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of contracting this disease. These include:

  1. Poor sanitation and hygiene: This disease is most common in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene, where people do not have access to clean water or proper sanitation facilities. This can increase the likelihood of the bacterium spreading through contaminated water or food.
  2. Living in crowded conditions: Living in close proximity to others can increase the likelihood of contracting this disease, especially if the living conditions are unsanitary.
  3. Traveling to areas with cholera outbreaks: Traveling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene, especially during a cholera outbreak, can increase the risk of contracting the infection.
  4. Weak immune system: People with weak immune systems, such as young children or the elderly, may be more susceptible to contracting this disease.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Cholera

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease is characterized by the sudden onset of watery diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. The symptoms can be severe and life-threatening, especially in vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

Vomiting and Stomach Pain

Watery diarrhea, Vomiting and Dehydration

The hallmark symptom of cholera is profuse, watery diarrhea (loose and watery stools that occur more frequently than usual). The diarrhea is typically painless and odorless and may appear rice-water-like in color and consistency. Vomiting is also common and can contribute to rapid dehydration. Dehydration can be severe, leading to electrolyte(minerals in your body that carry an electric charge) imbalances, low blood pressure, and in extreme cases, shock and organ failure.

Severity of Symptoms

Cholera symptoms usually show up within 2-3 days after getting infected, and they can quickly get worse. Patients may have up to 20 liters of diarrhea every day in severe cases, which causes fast dehydration and imbalances in electrolytes. The speed and seriousness of this disease’s symptoms can turn it into a life-threatening disease, particularly in regions with limited medical care access.

Here are some brief explanations of different types of diagnosis of this disease.

Diagnosis Through Stool Sample or Blood Test

Doctors typically diagnose cholera by conducting laboratory tests on stool samples or performing blood tests. They collect a stool sample and examine it for the presence of Vibrio-cholera bacteria. Additionally, they can use blood tests to detect antibodies against the bacteria. Timely diagnosis is crucial for prompt treatment and prevention of transmission.

Cholera is a diarrheal disease that exhibits sudden onset and severe symptoms. For example → excessive watery diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. Doctors diagnose it through laboratory tests on stool samples or blood tests. Identifying and treating the disease early are vital to avoid severe complications and the spread of the illness.

Now, let’s move to the treatment and prevention part of this disease.

Treatment and Prevention

Cholera is a serious illness that can cause → severe dehydration and, in some cases, death. Prompt treatment is essential for a successful recovery.

The following are the treatment and prevention of this disease:

Rehydration Therapy

Cholera treatment revolves around rehydration therapy, where we restore the body’s fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. You can accomplish this by → using an oral rehydration solution (ORS), a budget-friendly mixture of water, sugar, and salts that is readily available. Patients who can still drink and aren’t experiencing excessive vomiting can receive ORS. It’s vital to continue administering ORS even if the patient starts feeling better.

In severe cases, we may need to use intravenous (IV) fluids to restore fluids and electrolytes. This becomes especially necessary for patients who cannot drink or are severely dehydrated. To avoid complications, it is important to have medical supervision when administering IV fluids.


Antibiotics can shorten how long you’re sick and make your symptoms less severe. They really help if you have bad cholera, if you’re old, or if you have other medical problems. Doctors usually pick → doxycycline, azithromycin, or ciprofloxacin as the best anti-biotics. But remember, antibiotics don’t replace rehydration treatment.

Prevention through Improved Sanitation and Hygiene

Prevention is the most effective way to control cholera. Improving sanitation and hygiene practices is key to preventing cholera outbreaks. This includes access to clean water, proper disposal of sewage and waste, and good personal hygiene practices such as hand washing.

Vaccines are also available for cholera prevention. However, they are not widely used due to their limited effectiveness and high cost.

As we discussed the Cause, transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and control of this disease, now let’s explore Cholera Outbreaks and the Global Health Impact of this disease.

Cholera Outbreaks and Global Health

Throughout history, cholera, a waterborne bacterial infection, has significantly impacted global health. We have made progress in controlling and preventing cholera outbreaks. However, recent events remind us of the ongoing importance of international cooperation and response in addressing cholera outbreaks.

History of Cholera Outbreaks

Throughout history, this disease has caused numerous outbreaks, including seven pandemics that occurred since the early 19th century. The 7th pandemic, which started in 1961, and the 8th pandemic. Which began in 2010, were the most recent pandemics. The outbreak of 2010 originated in Haiti and spread to neighboring countries. Causing over 700,000 cases and 9,000 deaths. In 2016, Yemen experienced a cholera outbreak. Which became the worst outbreak in modern history, with over 1 million suspected cases and over 2,000 deaths.

Importance of International Cooperation and Response

Cholera outbreaks show how crucial it is for countries to work together and respond promptly to stop the disease from spreading. When the Haiti outbreak occurred in 2010. The global community launched a response to control the outbreak. They provided technical and financial aid to tackle the situation effectively. Likewise, in 2017, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control came into being. To coordinate efforts aimed at eliminating the disease and preventing future outbreaks.

Efforts to Eliminate Cholera

To prevent cholera effectively we need to provide clean water and adequate sanitation facilities. Additionally, we can use vaccines to prevent this disease, particularly oral cholera vaccines in outbreak situations to halt the disease’s spread. The elimination of cholera involves enhancing water and sanitation infrastructure, ensuring greater availability of oral cholera vaccines, and encouraging the adoption of good hygiene practices.


Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium, is responsible for causing a highly infectious disease called cholera. People mainly spread this disease by consuming contaminated food and water. Areas with inadequate sanitation and limited access to safe drinking water are at higher risk of cholera outbreaks. If people do not receive treatment for the disease, it can lead to severe diarrhea, dehydration, and even death.

Cholera treatment works effectively through → rapid rehydration therapy, antibiotics, and zinc supplementation. To prevent the disease, people focus on – improving access to clean water and sanitation, promoting good hygiene practices, and developing vaccines.

Despite all the efforts, many parts of the world still face significant public health problems. Which is in the form of the disease, especially in areas with limited resources. We need to continue researching and developing new prevention and treatment strategies to control cholera outbreaks and reduce the global burden of this disease.

To ensure the health and well-being of communities affected by this disease, as well as the global population as a whole. We must prioritize our efforts in preventing and treating this disease. By improving access to clean water, sanitation, and medical care, we can work towards a future where cholera ceases to be a significant public health threat.

Further Reading

We express our heartfelt gratitude to our readers for their unwavering support in engaging with the IntakeLearn article on the management of diseases. We will continuously provide significant information you can check articles like and .

For more information on this topic, you can check other sources:

  1. Wikipedia:
  2. Wikipedia:
  3. Wikipedia:
  4. Wikipedia:
  5. Wikipedia:


1 Comment

Akshay Sharma · June 1, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Thank you for sharing such great information on cholera: causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. I’m always looking for quality content and finally I found this in your article. Please continue with this kind of informative article and it seems very helpful to me in my studies.

Leave a Reply