What is Cholera?
Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
Overview of Cholera
In U.S. this was prevalent in the in the 1800s, before modern water and sewage treatment systems eliminated its spread by contaminated water.Only about 10 cases of cholera are reported each year in the U.S. and half of these are acquired abroad. Rarely, contaminated seafood has caused cholera outbreaks in the U.S. However, cholera outbreaks are still a serious problem in other parts of the world. The World Health Organization reports that there are 1.3 million to 4 million cases each year.
The disease is most common in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine. Common locations include parts of Africa, south Asia, and Latin America. If you are traveling to one of those areas, knowing the following cholera facts can help protect you and your family.
Some basic Details :
Pathogen : Comma shaped bacterium (Vibrio cholerae)
Mode of transmission : Contaminated food and water. House – fly is the carrier.
Incubation period : 6 hours to 2-3 days.
- Acute diarrohoea, rice watery stool.
- Muscular cramps.
- Loss of mineralsthrough urine.
- Dehydration leads to death.
Prevention and cure for :
Cholera vaccination should be given.
- Electrolytes (Na, K, sugar, etc.) dissolved in water should be given to the patient to check dehydration (In market it is available as ORS–oral rehydration solution).
- Proper washing and cooking of food.
- Proper disposalof vomit and human excreta.
- Flies should not be allowedto sit on eatables and utensils.
Currently there are three WHO pre-qualified oral cholera vaccines (OCV): Dukoral, Shanchol, and Euvichol-Plus. All three vaccines require two doses for full protection.
Dukoral is administered with a buffer solution that, for adults, requires 150 ml of clean water. Dukoral can be given to all individuals over the age of 2 years. There must be a minimum of 7 days, and no more than 6 weeks, delay between each dose. Children aged 2 -5 require a third dose. Dukoral is mainly used for travellers. Two doses of Dukoral provide protection against cholera for 2 years.
Shanchol and Euvichol-Plus have the same vaccine formula, produced by two different manufacturers. They do not require a buffer solution for administration. They are given to all individuals over the age of one year. There must be a minimum of two weeks delay between each dose of these two vaccines. Two doses of Shanchol and Euvichol-Plus provide protection against cholera at least for three years, while one dose provides short term protection.
Shanchol is prequalified to be used in a Controlled Temperature Chain, an innovative approach to vaccine management allowing vaccines to be kept at temperatures outside of the traditional cold chain of +2°C to +8°C for a limited period of time under monitored and controlled conditions.
Shanchol and Euvichol-Plus are the vaccines currently available for mass vaccination campaigns through the Global OCV Stockpile. The stockpile is supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Based on the available evidence, the August 2017 WHO Position Paper on Vaccines against Cholera states that:
- OCV should be used in areas with endemic cholera, in humanitarian crises with high risk of cholera, and during cholera outbreaks; always in conjunction with other cholera prevention and control strategies;
- vaccination should not disrupt the provision of other high priority health interventions to control or prevent cholera outbreaks.
More than 70 million doses of OCV have been used in mass vaccination campaigns. The campaigns have been implemented in areas experiencing an outbreak, in areas at heightened vulnerability during humanitarian crises, and among populations living in highly endemic areas, known as “hotspots”.
Some frequently asked questions:
Q1.Does boiling water kill the causative pathogen?
Well, boiling water is a very effective way to disinfect the water. And it will not only kill Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera, but it’s a right way to make sure your water is free of any pathogen, any living organism that could cause infection or illness.
Q2. Is ir contagious yes or no?
Cholera is highly contagious. Cholera can be transferred person to person by infected fecal matter entering a mouth or by water or food contaminated with Vibrio cholerae bacteria.
Q3.How is this infection treated today?
Rehydration therapy, the primary treatment for cholera patients, refers to the prompt restoration of lost fluids and salts. Antibiotic treatment reduces fluid requirements and duration of illness, and is indicated for severe cases of cholera.
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