What is Cholera?
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease is characterized in its most severe form by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhoea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.
How is Cholera transmitted?
A person may get Cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the Cholera bacterium. The Cholera bacterium may also live in the environment in brackish rivers and coastal waters. Shellfish ingested raw or undercooked has been a source of Cholera. The disease is less likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill.
Why should I take the Cholera vaccination?
Unlike other diarrhoeal diseases, it can kill healthy adults within hours. Individuals with lower immunity, such as malnourished children or people living with HIV, are at greater risk of death if infected by cholera. Hence, vaccination is recommended if one is travelling to an area with no access to safe water.
Points to Note:
Laboratory diagnostic tests are not perfect and are not 100% accurate
- We do not have a test for every disease or virus but most of those pathogens that are of public health importance or have long term implications on your health can be tested
- No one single test can be used with absolute certainty to diagnose a disease. Often, we depend on a combination of tests to make a diagnosis
- Sometimes, we have to resort to trial treatment or empiric treatment if investigative tests are inconclusive. If the patient makes a therapeutic response and feels better, we have achieved our goal
- In PUO, we are looking for treatable causes and to rule out sinister causes eg. malignancies so that we do not miss opportunities for early treatment or intervention