This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Cholera is an infection of the small intestines that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera. The condition can range from mild to severe and many affected people may have no obvious signs or symptoms. Approximately 5-10% of infected people will have severe disease with watery diarrhea and vomiting leading to rapid fluid loss, dehydration, and shock. If left untreated, this can cause acute renal failure, severe electrolyte imbalances, coma, or even death. People develop cholera when they eat food or drink water that is contaminated with Vibrio cholera. The condition occurs most often in places that lack water treatment and have poor sanitation and inadequate hygiene. Treatment aims to prevent dehydration and replace the fluids and salts that are lost through diarrhea.
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