Kolkata, Dec 29: (UNI) Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated.
Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio cholerae present in faecally contaminated water or food.
It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms after ingesting contaminated food or water
Cholera remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.
Researchers have estimated that every year, there are roughly 1.3 to 4.0 million cases, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths worldwide due to cholera.
Most people infected with V. cholerae do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their faeces for 1-10 days after infection and are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people.
Among people who develop symptoms, the majority have mild or moderate symptoms, while a minority develop acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. This can lead to death if left untreated.
During the 19th century, cholera spread across the world from its original reservoir in the Ganges delta in India. Six subsequent pandemics killed millions of people across all continents. The current (seventh) pandemic started in South Asia in 1961, and reached Africa in 1971 and the Americas in 1991. Cholera is now endemic in many countries.
There are many serogroups of V. cholerae, but only two – O1 and O139 – cause outbreaks. V. cholerae O1 has caused all recent outbreaks. V. cholerae O139 – first identified in Bangladesh in 1992 – caused outbreaks in the past, but recently has only been identified in sporadic cases. It has never been identified outside Asia. There is no difference in the illness caused by the two serogroups.