... Cholera patients?
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It causes a large amount of watery diarrhea. Death can result from the severe dehydration brought on by the diarrhea.
Cholera occurs in epidemics when conditions of poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine are present. Endemic areas include India, Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, and more recently, South and Central America, and Mexico. The infection is acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water.
Cholera is treated by replacing fluid and electrolytes lost through diarrhea.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed an oral rehydration solution (1/2 small spoon (3.5 grams) salt and 4 big spoons (40 grams) sugar to every litre of safe water) for use where commercial preparations are unavailable. Eating bananas or drinking green coconut water will help increase potassium levels.
Antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline can be used to shorten the duration of the diarrhea. Ciprofloxacin or erythromycin can be used if the strain is tetracycline-resistant.
Prevention of Cholera
Although a vaccine exists, it is not recommended because of its partial efficacy. Household contacts with a high likelihood of secondary transmission may receive oral tetracycline or doxycycline prophylaxis.
The World Health Organization Global Taskforce on Cholera Control has published a leaflet with recommendations on how to protect the community if an outbreak of cholera is suspected.
*Isolate the severe cases
*Disinfect water sources with chlorine
*Avoid social gatherings
*Wash your hands with soap after using toilets and latrines, before preparing food and before eating
*Boil or disinfect the water with chlorine solution
*Only eat freshly cooked food
*Do not defecate near the water sources
*Use latrines and keep them clean
There have been some studies reporting successful outcomes on the use of antibiotic prophylaxis during cholera outbreaks:
New Bell Central Prison in Douala, Cameroon during the 2004 epidemic
"... preventive antibiotic treatment, consisting of a single 300-mg dose of doxycycline... "
You will find the World Health Organization's page on cholera prevention and control at http://www.who.int/topics/cholera/control/en/index.html
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