The agent responsible for cholera.
Cholera is an acute illness that result from infection of the intestine. The diarrhea
diseases is caused by a toxigenic bacterium know as Vibrio cholera. Cholera infection is often
mild at the earlier stages of infection but gets severe with time. It is characterized by watery
diarrhea, intense vomiting and pain in the legs (Taylor, Kahawita, Cairncross, & Ensink, 2015).
Infected persons may end up in shock as a result of rapid loss of body fluids which lead to
dehydration. Cholera can cause death within hours if proper treatment is not administered.
The agent causing cholera is known as vibrio cholera. It has a shape of a bean and utilizes
self-propulsion. Transmission of the bacteria between human beings occurs when a person takes
contaminated food or water, also known as the fecal-oral rout. The disease causing characteristic
of Vibrio Cholerae is as a result of the secreted toxin which affects receptors in the intestine
(World Health Organization, 2010). The vibrio uses close interaction between the bacteria and a
copepod as a survival strategy in the aquatic environment before infecting its host. The bacteria
obtains its strength by forming a series of biofilms on the surface of the copepod, which protect
the bacteria from unfavorable conditions.
The symptoms, treatment, and diagnosis of cholera.
Cholera symptoms may be mild during the first phases of infection but gets severe with
time. The most common symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting which results in
dehydration. Other patients may experience pain in the abdomen accompanied by nausea,
lethargy and water-electrolyte imbalance.
Cholera diagnosis can be filly confirmed by identifying the bacteria in a stool sample.
However, the signs and symptoms of severe cholera in endemic areas are usually unmistakable.
There are a wide range of cholera dipstick tests used by healthcare providers in remote areas to
confirm cholera diagnosis at its early stages (World Health Organization, 2010). The treatment
options for cholera include rehydration, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and zinc supplements.
Rehydration aims a replacing fluids and electrolytes lost in the body. The approach uses a
rehydration solution such as oral rehydration salt which can be reconstituted or boiled water.
Rehydration is an important treatment strategy for cholera because it helps save lives and
reduces the number of fatalities to less than one percent.
Intravenous fluids can be useful during cholera epidemic where oral rehydration alone is
insufficient. This approach is ideal for severely hydrated patients. Additionally, certain
antibiotics can be administered to cholera patients to help reduce both duration and amount of
diarrhea for severely ill patients. Similarly, zinc supplements can also be used to shorten the
duration of diarrhea for children diagnosed with cholera.
Relationship between the water supply and cholera.
There exists a close correlation between water supply and cholera. In particular, cholera
is water borne disease transmitted from one person to another as a result of poor hygiene or
sanitation and inadequate water supply. Cholera outbreak is more rampant in areas where access
to adequate and clean water is a challenge hence the need to always ensure that drinking water is
treated and safe for human consumption (Fredrick, Ponnaiah, Murhekar, Jayaraman, David,
Vadivoo, & Joshua, 2015). Cholera outbreak can also occur during natural disasters such as
floods and outbreaks. However, it is more common in refugee camps where adequate water
supply, sanitation, and hygiene are major problems.
The World Health Organization is committed to reducing the number of deaths caused by
cholera. As a result, it has implemented numerous strategies to ensure prompt response during
outbreak. The organization therefore focuses on reducing mortality by improving access to safe
water supply and promoting the hygiene of people living in the affected areas. Notably, response
to cholera outbreak can be addressed using the same interventions applied in diarrheal infections.
Such strategies involve trucking chlorinated water, treating water containers using chlorine or
distributing safe products from treatment of household water (Taylor, Kahawita, Cairncross, &
Ensink, 2015). However, the mentioned strategies should be accompanied by proper personal
and food hygiene practices since these are also among the factors that cause the disease. In other
words, the nature of cholera makes it necessary to apply multiple intervention strategies in
addition to community education in order to reduce mortality.
Public health efforts to reduce cholera illness in developing countries.
The public health sector has implemented a number of strategies to reduce cholera in
developing countries. For example, the World Health Organization together with other affiliated
organizations are working towards improving access to clean and safe water in areas that are
prone to cholera outbreak. Additionally, policy recommendations include an introduction of
cholera vaccine for tourist who wish to visit certain countries (World Health Organization,
2010). Additionally various tools for containing cholera have been suggested and these include
proper and timely management of treatment centers, provision of training for proper case
management, improving access to water and sanitation, effective waste control and increasing
awareness on proper hygiene and food safety practices (World Health Organization, 2010).
Lastly, public health is working towards improving communication and dissemination of
important health information to the public.
Fredrick, T., Ponnaiah, M., Murhekar, M. V., Jayaraman, Y., David, J. K., Vadivoo, S., &
Joshua, V. (2015). Cholera outbreak linked with lack of safe water supply following a
tropical cyclone in Pondicherry, India, 2012. Journal of health, population, and
nutrition, 33(1), 31.
Taylor, D. L., Kahawita, T. M., Cairncross, S., & Ensink, J. H. (2015). The impact of water,
sanitation and hygiene interventions to control cholera: a systematic review. PLoS
one, 10(8), e0135676.
World Health Organization. (2010). Prevention and control of cholera outbreaks: WHO policy
and recommendations. Geneva: World Health Organization, Global Task Force on
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