Cholera is an acute, transmissible and dangerous infectious disease, as it is characterized by a severe intestinal infection that can lead to death due to dehydration. The causative bacterium is the choleric vibrion or Cholerae swing, comma-shaped, mobile that develops in the human gut and produces the toxin responsible for the disease.
The etiological agent of cholera is found in the feces of infected people, sick or not. Man, the vibrion's only reservoir, even eliminates 10 million bacteria per gram of feces. Contagion is direct through contaminated water and food. Flies and other insects can act as mechanical vectors, transporting the vibrium to water and food.
Vibrio cholerae under the electron microscope
The incubation period is from 6 to 10 hours to 2 to 3 days. After incubation, diarrhea suddenly appears, accompanied by headache, muscle cramps (calf), abdominal pain, vomiting and dehydration. The evolution of the disease is also caused by the state of malnutrition of the individual. The duration of symptoms is 3 to 4 days on average. If the patient is not treated urgently, death occurs within 14 to 48 hours.
Cholera prevention is done by basic hygiene measures:
- wash hands with soap and water whenever food is prepared, before meals, after using the toilet, after changing diapers, and after arriving from the street;
- disinfect, with bleach, sinks, sinks and toilets;
- use garbage bags in the dumpsters and keep them covered;
- fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed and soaked for half an hour in one liter of water with one tablespoon of sodium hypochlorite (bleach);
- red meat must have sanitary control.
Treatment is simple and should be performed as close to the place where the symptom started. Cholera requires medical attention. Antibiotics, always under medical advice, may be used orally or intravenously. It is important that hydration starts as soon as possible. Oral serum should be given while providing medical attention.
Educational campaigns on personal hygiene among the neediest populations are very important.
Important: Low temperatures (refrigerator) do NOT kill the vibrator; it keeps well on ice. All medicines should only be taken under medical advice.