Cholera is a very severe condition that may be characterized by the severe dehydration, watery diarrhea and extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes. It is usually a bacterial disease that spreads by consuming contaminated water. It can be fatal if left untreated. It is the infection of small intestine that is caused by some strains of Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium. In this disease, severe dehydration can cause the sunken eyes and the wrinkling of the skin of hands, feet and face. Vomiting and muscle cramps can also occur in this situation. Dehydration can also cause the cold skin and may reduce the skin elasticity and freshness. Dehydration can also cause the skin to be bluish. After exposure to the causative agents of cholera, the symptoms may develop from two hours to five days. This article will discuss the symptoms, causes and treatment of the cholera.

Symptoms of cholera:

A large proportion of the infected people usually show no symptoms and they may pass out the pathogens that the bacteria into their stool that may further infect other people. Cholera is usually spread by the consumption of dirty or polluted water contaminated with human feces. Out of 20 cases only about 1 case of cholera is usually severe. The symptoms of cholera may include:

Nausea and vomiting:

Nausea and vomiting are usually experienced by the affected person in the early stages of the disease. Vomiting may happen for hours at one time. The vomiting is usually of clear fluid.


In cholera, there can be the sudden onset of diarrhea that may cause the quick fluid loss up to dangerous levels. In cholera, the diarrheal stool may have the milky and pale appearance that is often called rice water stool (that resembles that water in which rice has been rinsed) with a fishy odour.  There is about 10 to 20 litres loss of water through the diarrhea in cholera.


Due to excessive fluid and electrolyte loss, there can be the severe dehydration in the affected individual. It can be developed in the cholera patient after the initiation of symptoms with in few hours. When the weight of a person is lost up to 10 % of its initial weight, it is the indicator of severe dehydration. The signs and symptoms of dehydration in case of cholera include:

  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Severe feeling of being thirsty
  • Shriveled skin (which is unable to restore when is pressed through a pinch)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Arrhythmia (Irregular heart beat)
  • Less or no urine production
  • Loose skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Less sweating or decreased secretions

Electrolyte imbalance:

Dehydration can also lead to the excessive loss of electrolytes known as electrolyte balance. Eletroly imbalance can further cause:

Muscle cramps: these usually results due to loss of minerals such as chlorine, potassium and sodium.

Shock: it is situation of medical emergency. It can cause your circulatory system to collapse and causing death in just a few minutes. This occurs when the blood volume is reduced that further decreases the blood pressure and the oxygen capacity of body.

Causes of the cholera:

The main cause of cholera is Vibrio cholera bacterium. The severe effects of the cholera are caused by the toxin called CTX that are produced by the bacteria in the small intestine. The toxin CTX usually binds with the walls of the intestine that will impair the chlorine and sodium flow. This causes the body to release large amounts of water and electrolytes out of body leading to severe dehydration. Seafood sources can also be its common cause.

Sources of cholera infection:

The sources of cholera infection may include:


The intake of raw and semi-cooked sea foods especially shellfish are the main sources of cholera infection.

Raw fruits and vegetables:

Raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables can also be the sources of the spread of cholera infection.

Contaminated water of sewage:

The sewage water contaminated with the human feces is also one of the major sources of cholera infection. In other words, we can say poor sanitary conditions contribute towards this disease more.


The treatment of the cholera mainly includes the rehydration process as this condition is severely causing the dehydration in the patients. The rehydration may be:

  • Oral rehydration
  • Intravenous rehydration

Oral rehydration is achieved by giving the patient a solution typically known as ORS; oral rehydration solution. Intravenous rehydration is provided by the glucose and saline solutions of NaCl and is given in the form of drips through the veins.


So, in a nut shell cholera can be severe if left unchecked. It should be treated and controlled with in time otherwise may cause severe dehydration leadin

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