Vibrio Cholerae is a bacteria mainly found in contaminated water or food due to poor hygienic and unsanitised environments.
Vibrio Cholerae bacteria causes cholera, leading to vomiting, bloody stool, fever, and severe uncontrolled bowel movement. This bacteria enters the human body via contaminated food and water. Although the disease can cause serious consequences, treatments are available to treat cholera. Cholera can be fatal if left untreated since it causes dehydration and diarrhea, although the treatments are quite simple for these symptoms. The cholera cases are lower in the USA compared to other countries such as South East Asia, Africa, and Haiti. In industrialised countries, advanced sewage and water treatment techniques have eradicated any risk of causing cholera disease. In contrast, countries that still have poverty and overpopulated regions have been prone to cholera disease due to inadequate sanitisation. Cholera treatment is inexpensive and readily available, although the treatment should be given during the early stage before the symptoms become severe.
Overview of Vibrio Cholerae
Vibrio Cholerae is a species of bacteria that belongs to the family of Vibronaceae. This is a long rod-shaped bacteria, which is gram-positive, forms no spores, and is an anaerobe. The bacteria have a single tail called flagella that assist the bacteria in mobility. The significant strains of vibrio cholerae bacteria are serogroups O1 and O139, responsible for causing cholera outbreaks. However, other strains of this bacteria cause severe cholera symptoms from the toxins released by these bacteria.
The bacteria generally releases toxins that influence the body to secrete an increased amount of water, thereby causing diarrhea and swift loss of fluids (electrolytes). Contaminated water and food may not cause illness. However, the symptoms themselves could be life-threatening if left untreated. The primary sources of Vibrio Cholerae are found in; water from wells (since the public uses well, water can become contaminated), uncooked seafood, raw vegetables and fruits (from the manure used as fertilisers or water used for irrigation), and grains (cooked grains when kept in room temperature can provide conditions to grow Vibrio Cholerae).
Harmful Effects on Humans
Once infected with cholera, the initial sign of this infection is fever, and then the remaining symptoms follow. Although most people get infected with Vibrio Cholerae, they do not get ill or show any signs since the bacteria is eliminated from the body through their stool. However, even though most people are asymptomatic, this infection can transmit to other people through contaminated food and water. Moreover, the cases of people who get infected and start showing symptoms are mild to moderate since diarrhea is the most common symptom. Therefore, people fail to recognize that diarrhea is caused by cholera as other problems also cause diarrhea.
The most common symptoms of cholera involve; diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Once a person is infected with cholera, diarrhea’s first symptom is displayed. The appearance of diarrhea is a pale, milky, and watery motion. This loose bowel movement takes place multiple times a day, thus leading to the loss of essential fluids. Nausea and vomiting usually occur during the beginning stage of the cholera infection. This symptom lasts for hours and leads to a loss of fluids, causing dehydration. This dehydration can start as mild and eventually become severe, leading to around 10% of fluid loss. Dehydration shows dry mouth, extreme thirstiness, fatigue, less urination, etc. The loss of fluids is the essential electrolyte that the body requires. Lack of electrolytes will lead to muscle cramps caused due to reduced salts like potassium, sodium, and chloride. Dehydration also leads to decreased amount of electrolytes will eventually cause a shock which is a severe problem. This leads to low blood pressure caused due to reduced oxygen in the body. Therefore, this symptom must be treated immediately otherwise the person will undergo severe hypovolemic shock that can be fatal.
The most important preventive measures are the basic hygienic and santisation methods. It is essential to eat cooked food and avoid street food as it can be contaminated. Drinking safe bottled or boiled water can help prevent cholera. It is also important to treat symptoms and take more fluids to replenish lost electrolytes. There are vaccines for cholera given to the public in hospitals.