The acute enteric infection that has caused several outbreaks worldwide in the recent years is known ascholera, otherwise called as violent dysentery. It has widely affected those locations with less potable supply of water, or those with inaccessible basic needs, and most especially those crowded places with lack of sanitation and hygiene practices.
Cholera is transmitted through fecal- oral route, more likely the ingestion of directly or indirectly fecal contaminated water or food by soiled hands, utensils or mechanical carrier like flies. A person who is infected by this illness can transmit the organism through his feces or vomitus. So, obviously, the diagnosis for this enteric infection is through fecal analysis. But, presently, the availability of the new rapid diagnostic test (RDT)is a promising way of early diagnosis. However, it is still being verified by the WHO to be utilized.
The extremely short incubation period of cholera pertaining to a few hours to five days with average of 3 days has marked its deadly threat to those infected to it; considering that its mild form causes no symptomsat all. That is why it could result to severe dehydration, coma and death if left untreated.
The initial clinical manifestations of an individual infected with cholera are:
- Acute colicky pain of the abdomen
- Mild diarrhea with yellowish colored stools
- Headache and vomiting
- Fever, which may or may not be present
- Marked mental depression
Symptoms of dehydration may be manifested by:
- Provision or assisting the community to access to potable and clean water resource i.e. boiling water if not sure to be clean
- Teaching the community on proper sanitation practices, handling and preserving food
- Educating them of the importance of hand washing before handling or eating food, and after defecating
- Proper detection of cases as part of rigid surveillance.