Cholera Alert!!

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By Dr. Ramya V Raghavan, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield


The recent news on Cholera outbreak in specific areas has put the residents of Bangalore on a high alert. Public awareness concerning the spread of disease can help curb cholera. Precautions and timely treatment is very important to control an outbreak.


 Symptoms of cholera –


  • Profuse watery diarrhoea


  • Vomiting


  • Leg cramps and associated symptoms due to dehydration


  • Cholera can cause death due to dehydration within hours if not treated properly.


How is cholera spread?


  • Cholera is a caused by a bacterium called Vibrio Cholerae present in contaminated water and food


  • Cholera does not spread directly from one person to another. It is only spread via faecal contamination of water sources and food.


  • Cholera has a short incubation period from a few hours to around 5 days.


  • Around 75% of people carrying the cholera infection may not show any symptoms but shed the bacterium in their faeces/stools across 7 to 14 days causing infection to other individuals.


The following simple steps can protect you and your family from cholera:


  • Drink and use safe water.


  • Safe water is water that is bottled with an unbroken seal or water that has been boiled or treated via chlorine or other means.


  • Safe water should also be stored in clean covered containers.


  • Wash hands often with soap and safe water.


  • Cook food well. Keep all food items covered.


  • Always wash hands after using a latrine and before preparing any food.


  • Do not defecate in the open or near any water body. Bury the faeces or use a latrine.


Treatment for cholera:


  • First ensure patient is sufficiently hydrated via an Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution. In severe case, intravenous fluids will be needed


  • Appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed by your Doctor to shorten the duration of the disease


  • If any person presents with any of the cholera symptoms listed above, then they must immediately go to the nearest hospital or PHC.

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