Cholera - Vibrio cholerae infection

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is cholera Vibrio cholerae infection?

This is a cholera infection, caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. Cholera can be life-threatening but it is easily prevented and treated. Most symptomatic cases of cholera cause mild or moderate diarrhea and that’s often hard to distinguish from diarrhea because it is caused by other problems.

How common is cholera Vibrio cholerae infection?

This health condition is rare. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of cholera Vibrio cholerae infection?

The common symptoms of cholera Vibrio cholerae infection are:

  • Diarrhea due to cholera often has a pale, milky appearance that resembles water in which rice has been rinsed (rice-water stool).
  • Nausea and vomiting. Occurring especially in the early stages of cholera, vomiting may persist for hours at a time.
  • Dehydration can develop within hours after the onset of cholera symptoms.
  • Electrolyte imbalance. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to serious signs and symptoms such as muscle cramps and shock.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes cholera Vibrio cholerae infection?

A bacterium called Vibrio cholerae causes cholera infection. However, the deadly effects of the disease are the result of a potent toxin called CTX that the bacteria produce in the small intestine. CTX binds to the intestinal walls, where it interferes with the normal flow of sodium and chloride. This causes the body to secrete enormous amounts of water, leading to diarrhea and a rapid loss of fluids and salts (electrolytes).

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for cholera Vibrio cholerae infection?

There are many risk factors for cholera Vibrio cholerae infection, such as:

  • Poor sanitary conditions.Cholera is more likely to flourish in situations where a sanitary environment — including a safe water supply — is difficult to maintain.
  • Reduced or nonexistent stomach acid (hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria). Cholera bacteria can’t survive in an acidic environment, and ordinary stomach acid often serves as a first-line defense against infection.
  • Household exposure.You’re at significantly increased the risk of cholera if you live with someone who has the disease.
  • Type O blood.For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, people with type O blood are twice as likely to develop cholera as are people with other blood types.
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish.Although large-scale cholera outbreaks no longer occur in industrialized nations, eating shellfish from waters known to harbor the bacteria greatly increases your risk.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is cholera Vibrio cholerae infection diagnosed?

  • Laboratory test;
  • The Crystal VC® dipstick rapid test.

How is cholera Vibrio cholerae infection treated?

  • The goal is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes using a simple rehydration solution, oral rehydration salts (ORS).
  • Intravenous fluids.During a cholera epidemic, most people can be helped by oral rehydration alone, but severely dehydrated people may also need intravenous fluids.
  • A single dose of doxycycline (Monodox, Oracea, Vibramycin) or azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) may be effective.
  • Zinc supplements.Research has shown that zinc may decrease and shorten the duration of diarrhea in children with cholera.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cholera Vibrio cholerae infection?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with cholera Vibrio cholerae infection:

  • Take cholera vaccine.
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently, especially after using the toilet and before handling food.
  • Drink only safe water.
  • Eat food that’s completely cooked and hot and avoid street vendor food, if possible.
  • Avoid sushi, as well as raw or improperly cooked fish and seafood of any kind.
  • Stick to fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges, and avocados. Stay away from salads and fruits that can’t be peeled, such as grapes and berries.
  • Be wary of dairy foods, including ice cream, which is often contaminated, and unpasteurized milk.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 5, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019