Cholera; Introduction, Signs Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention, Control
Image taken from: CDC


Cholera is an acute disease, caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It is a diarrhoeal infection which spreads through ingestion of contaminated food or water. Each year, an estimated 3-5 million cases and over 100,000 deaths  around the world. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Even death occurs within hours if proper treatment is not given.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Profuse watery diarrhoea, sometimes described as “rice-watery stools.”
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps
  • Restlessness or irritability


  • Isolation and identification of Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139 by culture of stool specimen.
  • The Crystal VC® dipstick rapid test

Prevention and Control

  • Prevention of cholera is dependent on access to safe water,basic hygiene needs, and adequate sanitation .
  • Cook food well, keep it covered, eat it hot and always peel fruits and vegetables.
  • Vaccination for adult who are 18-64 years old and travelers who are travelling to an area of active cholera transmission with cholera vaccine called Vaxchora.
  • After defecating, wash hands with soap and safe water .


  • Rehydration therapy
  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Zinc treatment




  1. World Health Organization
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Mayo Clinic