These are the symptoms of cholera, the disease that has reappeared in Toledo after more than 40 years

During centuries, cholera it has wreaked havoc around the world, emerging in epidemic outbreaks that kill hundreds of thousands of people. It is now largely absent from developed countries, but it has never disappeared from other parts of the world, and the effects of climate change threaten to increase its damaging potential.

What is cholera? What are your causes?

Cholera is a disease caused by two serotypes of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It affects the digestive tract, and roughly takes the form of a secretory diarrhoea.

It is native to the Ganges delta, in India, but from there it has spread throughout the world. to be endemic to more than 50 countries. It proliferates in situations of overcrowding, poverty, wars and in general where sanitary conditions are poor.

Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera.

its natural reservoirs are the humans (the only animal affected) and brackish waters and estuaries. It is contracted by drinking non-potable water, by food contaminated with human fecal matter containing the bacteria, and by consuming poorly cooked seafood. In contrast, person-to-person transmission is rare.

What are your symptoms?

Cholera incubates for a period of a few hours to a few days, and then manifests as characteristic diarrhea.

Specifically, the patient presents watery diarrhea with abundant stools (up to 40 in 24 hours) of a whitish color and with small granules, similar in appearance to rice water and smell reminiscent of fish.

Washing your hands with soap and water kills germs.

Along with this, affected people often suffer abdominal pain and vomitingwithout fever or with moderate fever.

The main complication of untreated cholera is severe dehydration from large loss of fluids and saltswhich in turn can cause symptoms such as apathy, memory loss, defects in the intestinal flora, coldness, cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin, especially in extremities or mucous membranes), muscle cramps, hypotension, increased viscosity of the blood (and consequently stroke, heart attack, ischemia…), wrinkles on the skin and finally death.

How is it treated?

Proper treatment of the disease reduces its mortality from more than 50% to 0.2%. The main strategy is aggressive rehydrationwhich alleviates dehydration, which is the cause of deaths from cholera.

photographer: Jorge Paris Hernandez [[[PREVISIONES 20M]]]topic: Masks

Along with this, it is convenient to supply sodium, chlorine, potassium and bicarbonate depending on the losses presented by the patient. This can be achieved using serums or, if they are not available, sports drinks, carbonated drinks or even water with lemon.

At the same time, it is common administer antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria and reduce the duration of the condition in patients with moderate to severe diarrhea.

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