Cholera :: Cholera outbreak affects 2000 people in Orissa, India

Indian health officials say the Cholera – diarrhea disease is spreading in Orissa, India. The death toll from an outbreak of cholera in the eastern Indian state of Orissa has risen to 115.

Thirty-five people have died of the disease in three tribal districts in the past two days, and the outbreak has affected Rayagada, Koraput and Kalahandi districts where more than 2,000 people have been admitted to hospitals.

Doctors say contaminated food and water are to blame for the epidemic.

Cholera is an acute illness characterized by watery diarrhea that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera is spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.

Rapid diagnosis of cholera can be made by examining a fresh stool sample under the microscope for the presence of V. cholerae bacteria. Cholera can also be diagnosed by culturing a stool sample in the laboratory to isolate the cholera-causing bacteria. In addition, a blood test may reveal the presence of antibodies against the cholera bacteria.

The key to treating cholera lies in preventing dehydration by replacing the fluids and electrolytes lost through diarrhea and vomiting. The discovery that rehydration can be accomplished orally revolutionized the treatment of cholera and other, similar diseases by making this simple, cost-effective treatment widely available throughout the world. The World Health Organization has developed an inexpensive oral replacement fluid containing appropriate amounts of water, sugar, and salts that is used worldwide. In cases of severe dehydration, replacement fluids must be given intravenously. Patients should be encouraged to drink when they can keep liquids down and eat when their appetite returns. Recovery generally takes three to six days.

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