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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Disease Diseases Arrow to CholeraCholera

King Cholera
"King Cholera" ruled during
the early 19th century
Industrial Revolution.

Although considered only a minor threat to the modern world, cholera continues to occur in area where sanitary conditions are poor, or when natural disasters disrupt access to clean water supplies.

With fecal contamination in local water supplies now known as the cause of cholera, the disease was once the most misunderstood and feared throughout the world.

During the early 19th century Industrial Revolution, for example (when available housing was not up to handling increased populations and sanitation was not a major concern), thousands perished in urban cholera epidemics on a regular basis.

Today, through the efforts of the medical community and improved urban sanitation, cholera in humans is no longer very common in industrialized nations.

Cholera symptoms and treatment

cholera prevention and control
Health materials distributed
by the Centers for Disease
Control advise boiling or
treating local water supplies
tainted by cholera bacteria.


When they do occur, cholera symptoms usually begin with diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps.

Treatment typically involves replacement of the fluid and minerals lost through diarrhea followed by a course of antibiotics to help speed recovery. Otherwise, cholera can rapidly develop into severe dehydration, shock, and in some cases may be fatal if left untreated.

When natural disasters strike - such as those following Hurricane Katrina and the devastating earthquake in Haiti - isolated outbreaks of cholera can still occur. These are often the result of large populations being cut off from clean water supplies after the local infrastructure is left in ruins.

In all such instances, health officials will usually warn people to boil water or treat it with water purification tablets before using any local water supplies.

Around the Web, learn more about cholera at top sites offering detailed histories of the disease as well modern causes and treatment information ...

More about cholera around the Web:

John Snow
- He's the epidemiologist who uncovered the way that cholera is transmitted and solved London's deadly cholera epidemic of 1854. This site is fascinating... including maps of London in the mid 1800s, original texts and other information on the disease and the methods epidemiologists use to track elusive germs.

WHO - Cholera - The World Health Organization presents information on cholera with reports of outbreaks, traveler information, what is being done to control it, and other issues.

CDC - Cholera - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site contains a wealth of information on cholera including causes, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and downloadable brochures.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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