Cholera: Symptoms and Treatment

Those who are interested in historical books, certainly had to read about the epidemics of cholera, which at times devoured entire cities. Moreover, mention of this disease is found all over the world. To date, the disease is not completely defeated, but cases in the middle latitudes are quite rare: the largest number of patients with cholera occur in third world countries.

Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal infection. The small intestine affects this disease, in the absence of proper treatment it quickly leads to severe dehydration, and, as a result, death. Usually, the disease is epidemiological.

What causes the disease

The causative agent of a disease such as cholera is a group of bacteria, which is also called cholera vibrio. And as with any other infectious disease, the question is very important: how is cholera transmitted. On animals, these bacteria do not take root due to species immunity, so you can not get infected, for example, from a pet. The only exception is flies, but only for the reason that these insects often dig into the excrement, and in fact feces are one of the main sources of infection. Also, the cholera vibrio perfectly feels in an alkaline environment, in water, in foods. And, of course, you can get the disease directly — from person to person.

Almost all the pathogens of cholera can be destroyed by boiling, but there are also some species that show an extreme degree of resistance — for example, the vibrio El Tor.

How does the disease manifest itself

After getting infected with such a disease as cholera, the symptoms do not manifest themselves immediately. The incubation period usually lasts about a day or two, but in some cases, up to 5 days from infection to the first signs of the disease. Then the following symptoms manifest themselves:

  • Severe diarrhea with characteristic caloric masses (colorless discharge of a liquid or mushy consistency). These signs appear immediately after the incubation period passes. Sometimes a person can go to the toilet not one dozen times a day. Such symptoms are most typical for cholera.
  • Nausea accompanied by vomiting. Initially, the vomit consists mainly of the food taken. Then it is replaced by the same colorless substance, most similar to the liquid boiled rice porridge.
  • The urine output is greatly reduced: the patient can urinate 1-2 times a day, or even urinate at all.
  • Signs of dehydration show: facial features become angular, acute, mucous dry, the patient is constantly thirsty.
  • Strong weakness, retardation. Pulse and blood pressure can be greatly reduced.
  • The onset of seizures, usually the chewing and calf muscles are affected. These symptoms appear several days after the first manifestations of the disease.

As you can see from the above, cholera symptoms are extremely disturbing and it is difficult to notice them. Cholera in children is especially severe: a critical degree of dehydration occurs much faster than in adults, cramps, disturbances in the nervous system up to the coma are more common. Therefore, if the symptoms have manifested themselves, it is extremely important not to lose a minute, because only timely treatment will allow a person to return to normal life.

How the disease is diagnosed

The most accurate way to determine if a person has cholera is to take biological material for analysis. Such material may be particles of vaginal and vomitic masses of the patient. It is also possible to take bile extracted from duodenal probing for analysis. Sometimes a rectal sampling of the material is practiced: for this purpose, a cotton swab or an aluminum loop is inserted into the rectum by 5-19 cm. The collected materials should be delivered to the study within 2-3 hours, not later. If you can not deliver so quickly, then the samples should be placed in a special nutrient medium.

Sometimes, when cases of cholera are epidemic, a so-called mass study is done: samples are taken immediately from 10 people, and if cholera is found in a common tube, then only individual analyzes are done. This greatly helps to save time and materials.

How to cure cholera

Due to the high degree of infectiousness, cholera is treated only in a hospital setting. For patients, a special isolated block is assigned to the infectious unit. Cholera is accompanied by a strong weakness, so this disease shows bed rest, and in some cases it is more appropriate to use a special bed that has holes for the buttocks, as well as a built-in scale (Phillips bed). Massage and physiotherapy treatment does not provide.

Recommended Power Method

As for the diet, for the period of treatment it is necessary to significantly reduce the intake of carbohydrates and fats. Also, everything that provokes fermentation and putrefaction gets under the ban. If we talk about specific products, then in the acute period of the disease should avoid such dishes:

  1. Fatty, boiling broth.
  2. Soups with milk
  3. Freshly baked bread and flour products
  4. All dairy products.
  5. Fresh and dried vegetables and fruits
  6. Sweet: jam, sugar, honey, sweets, cakes, etc.
  7. Food with an abundance of spicy spices
  8. Smoked products

As for the allowed products, they are:

  • Soups on water with mucus (rice, oatmeal)
  • Porridge on the water: oatmeal, rubbed rice, semolina.
  • White bread crumbs
  • Steamed meatballs or meatballs made from lean meat: veal, rabbit, chicken fillet
  • Broth of wild rose, compote from currant and / or quince.
  • Low-fat cottage cheese, ground to a souffle.

As the acute period goes by, you can make some allowances in the diet, but only a specialist should decide.

After recovery, during the final rehabilitation it is recommended to add to the diet rich in potassium products: bananas, dried apricots, currants, grapes, potatoes cooked in the skin.

Treatment with medication

At the first time, treatment consists in overcoming dehydration, that is, the liquid must enter the body of the patient faster than leaving. To this end, the patient is given a drink (or injected with a probe into the stomach) a water-salt solution, which consists of water, baking soda, salt, potassium chloride and sugar. In especially severe conditions, intravenously injected saline.

In order to destroy the causative agent — cholera vibrios, the following antibiotics are used:

  1. Erythromycin. For adults, the dosage is 5 cubes every 6 hours.
  2. Tetracycline. Assigned in an amount of 0.3-0.5 g in a single dose. Enter it should be an interval of 6 hours.
  3. Levomycetin
  4. Doxycycline.

Of course, antibiotics are not prescribed all at once — one of them is chosen. In addition, the above dosages — an approximate, exact dose and number of appointments per day should be prescribed by a doctor.

Preventive measures — how to avoid infection

To date, cholera epidemics are found in India, Africa, and some countries in the Middle East. If there are no trips there, then general prevention will help. It consists of the following measures:

  • When swimming in reservoirs, care must be taken to ensure that water does not enter the mouth.
  • Water from doubtful sources should be boiled before use.
  • Do not buy or eat food in institutions, if there is any doubt about sanitation there.
  • Before eating food, hands should be thoroughly washed with hot water, or better — treated with an antiseptic. In particular, this applies to situations where you need to eat on the street.
  • Hands must be handled carefully when visiting public latrines

If a person plans to travel to those countries where cholera is likely to be infected with this disease, prevention is that all necessary vaccinations are made before the trip. If the contact with the patient has occurred, then the next 5 days should be isolated and tested, to make sure of the presence or absence of infection. Often in such cases, emergency prevention is prescribed, namely — the course of antibiotics, the very ones that are used to treat cholera.

Although cholera epidemics in our latitudes have been gone for a long time, and modern drugs can successfully fight this disease, but it should be remembered that cholera is a dangerous infectious disease, single cases of which are found all over the globe. Therefore, all precautions should be followed, and if there are any signs of a disease such as cholera, you should immediately seek help from a hospital.