Cholera is an infectious intestinal disease that is caused by the bacteria, Vibrio cholerae. Cholera can kill if it is not treated early. The first cholera pandemic came out of the Ganges Delta with an outbreak in Jessore, India, in 1817, stemming from contaminated rice.
In Nigeria, where only 14% of the over 206 million population have access to safe drinking water supply, cholera is endemic. In a report by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 111,662 suspected cases of cholera and 3,604 suspected deaths were recorded in 2021. The States mostly affected were Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara states.
Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, is usually found in food or water contaminated by faeces from persons with the infection. Common routes of the infection include ingesting polluted water and foods especially raw or undercooked fish (seafoods) and meat.
Symptoms are rapid heart rate, profuse watery diarrhoea, vomiting, irritability, low blood pressure, thirst, and muscle cramps. The skin of the individual might also turn bluish pale due to dehydration.
Diagnosis of Cholera involves the use of stool specimens for microscopy, culture and isolation of the causative organisms. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) method can also be used.
Treatment of cholera is by the administration of Oral Rehydration Therapy, IV Fluids, Zinc. Preventive measures involves drinking safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene.
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