What are the symptoms of cholera?
Common early symptoms of cholera
You may experience symptoms of cholera anytime from a few hours to five days after becoming infected. It is important to remember that similar symptoms occur in many different diseases and are unlikely to be associated with cholera unless you have recently traveled in developing countries. Early symptoms include:
- Muscle cramps
- Profuse, watery diarrhea that is typically painless. Stools are described as having a “rice-water” appearance.
Later symptoms of cholera
- As dehydration progresses, further symptoms may develop as a result of fluid loss including:
- Cold or cool skin
- Dry skin and mucous membranes (such as dry mouth)
- Excessive thirst
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Muscle cramps and weakness
- Reduced urine output
- Sunken eyes
- Weak pulse
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition
In some cases, dehydration resulting from cholera infection is so severe that a life-threatening situation may develop within hours. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of the following symptoms:
- Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
- Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions
- Fast heart rate (tachycardia)
- Greatly reduced or no urine output
- Rapid breathing rate (tachypnea)
- Weak pulse
What is cholera?
Cholera is an acute bacterial illness caused by infection of the intestinal tract with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera may produce severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including profuse, watery diarrhea, as well as vomiting and dehydration.... Read more about cholera introduction
What causes cholera?
Cholera is a contagious disease caused by infection with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is spread through food or water that has been contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person. In many cases, the infected person handled the food without proper hand washing. Casual contact does not spread the disease. Less commonly, you can become infected by eating shellfish taken from waters contaminated by raw sewage.... Read more about cholera causes
How is cholera treated?
If you are experiencing symptoms and think you might have been exposed to cholera, contact your health care provider. The mainstay of cholera treatment is replenishment of fluids and electrolytes to prevent serious complications of dehydration. With proper rehydration treatment, less than 1% of people with cholera will die. Left untreated, however, cholera can produce life-threatening dehydration.... Read more about cholera treatments