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What is cholera?
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by bacteria named Vibrio cholerae. Cholera causes profuse diarrhea episodes and vomiting. The cause of cholera are toxins secreted by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria. Microscopically, these bacteria appear curved (comma-shaped) and have a negative Gram stain. Cholera causes severe loss of fluid and electrolytes from the body due to vomiting and profuse diarrhea. Less frequently, some people infected have few or no symptoms. If fluids and electrolytes are not restored to the individual, more severe symptoms, including dehydration and shock, may occur quickly (about 12-48 hours). Death occurs in about 15%-20% of patients who develop severe symptoms and signs.
Is cholera contagious?
Cholera is highly contagious. Cholera can be transferred person to person by infected fecal matter entering a mouth or by water or food contaminated with Vibrio cholerae bacteria. The organisms can survive well in salty waters and can contaminate humans and other organisms that contact or swim in the water.
What is the incubation period for cholera?
The time period from exposure to the bacteria until the development of symptoms (incubation period) is relatively short for cholera, varying from about 12 hours to five days. Most people develop symptoms of watery diarrhea (termed "rice-water stools") with frequent stooling. More severe symptoms include frequent vomiting, rapid heart rate, dry mucous membranes, muscle cramps, restlessness, thirst, loss of skin elasticity, and low blood pressure. As symptoms progress, some patients can develop kidney failure and/or hypovolemic shock. Detection of cholera is simple with testing of stool samples with a special dipstick. Examination of the watery diarrhea for characteristic Vibrio bacteria (comma-shaped bacteria) by microscopy can be helpful. Subsequent culture of the organisms from stool samples will confirm preliminary dipstick and microscopic identification.
How does cholera spread?
Cholera is spread many ways. Cholera bacteria can survive in areas outside the body and can easily contaminate water sources and food. In addition, individuals with the disease produce large numbers of Vibrio bacteria in their stools that can contaminate other people, as well as clothing, sheets, and many other items in the home. The usual spread of Vibrio cholerae bacteria is by infected fecal matter entering the mouth.
When does the contagious period for cholera end?
A person is no longer contagious for cholera when they have no cholera symptoms and no detectable Vibrio bacteria in their stools. Cholera, in general, usually lasts about one week, unless severe symptoms develop. Although a person may be no longer contagious for cholera, the infection does not provide enough immunity to prevent the person from coming down with cholera again if reexposed to the bacteria.
When should someone seek medical care for cholera?
Anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to cholera, especially if they have early symptoms of the disease, should seek medical care emergently. Do not wait until symptoms become more severe. The earlier fluids and electrolytes are replenished, the more likely the individual will not develop severe symptoms, have a prolonged hospital stay, or die.
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United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Vibrio Species Causing Vibriosis." July 16, 2018. <https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/>.
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Bacterial Infections 101Learn more about bacteria and the most common bacterial infections. Get more information on bacterial skin infections, which bacteria cause food poisoning, sexually transmitted bacteria, and more.
CholeraCholera is an infectious disease characterized by intense vomiting and profuse watery diarrhea and that rapidly lease to dehydration and often death. Cholera is caused by infection with the bacteria Vibrio cholerae, which may be transmitted via infected fecal matter, food, or water.
Cipro vs Levaquin
Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Levaquin (levofloxacin) are antibiotics prescribed to treat bacterial infections of the airways, lungs, bone, joints, and skin. Both Cipro and Levaquin belong to a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. Fluoroquinolones stop the multiplication of bacteria by preventing the reproduction and repair of their genetic material (DNA).
Both Cipro and Levaquin cause side effects, for example, abdominal pain, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, and headache. Side effects of Cipro that do not occur with Levaquin include insomnia, dizziness, intestinal gas, and itching. Levaquin also can cause side effects like restlessness and constipation. Dosage for both antibiotics depends upon the type of infection. Drug interactions occur with both drugs. Cipro and Levaquin are not recommended to take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Cipro, XR (ciprofloxacin) vs Keflex (cephalexin)
Cipro, generic name ciprofloxacin, and Keflex, generic name cephalexin, are antibiotics that belong to different drug classes. Cipro is a type of fluoroquinolone and Keflex is a type of penicillin. Cipro and Keflex can cause similar side effects like abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and skin rashes.
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Cipro and Keflex are used to treat bacterial infections, for example, infections of the ears, skin, bone, urinary tract, and C. difficile (infectious diarrhea). Cipro also is used for the treatment of lower respiratory infections, sinusitis, chronic prostatitis, TB, typhoid fever, cystitis, the plague, anthrax poisoning, and bronchiectasis. Keflex also is used for the treatment of infections of the middle ear, tonsils (tonsillitis), bronchioles (bronchitis), laryngitis (larynx), and lungs (pneumonia).
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Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis.
Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain.
Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers.
Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Stomach Flu vs. Food Poisoning
The stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) and food poisoning are not the same infections. However, they do have a few similar symptoms, for example:
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Symptoms and signs of food poisoning show up earlier (2 hours up to a couple of days) in comparison to the stomach flu in which symptoms may take 4 hours up to 48 hours (2 days) before symptoms begin. Medical treatment for the stomach flu and food poisoning generally is not necessary. A bland diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and rest may be the only treatment necessary.
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