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Vibrio Cholerae: Methods of Treatment

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Vibrio cholerae is found mainly in raw vegetation, water containing sewage and raw seafood. Stagnant water and certain types of food, including seafood, raw fruits and vegetables, and grains are the most common sources of cholera infection. When a person consumes contaminated food or water, the Vibrio cholerae bacteria releases an enterotoxin which pulls water and electrolytes from the body and forces them into the intestinal lumen, producing severe diarrhoea. Subsequently, the infected person loses a great amount of fluids which contributes to dehydration in cholera patients (Mayo clinic, 2017).

Despite being infected by the Vibrio cholerae; many people do not display any symptoms but are still carriers. These carriers excrete the Vibrio cholerae bacteria after seven to fourteen days, thus contaminating water supplies. Those who do show symptoms of cholera mostly have mild to moderate diarrhoea, making it difficult to distinguish it from other illnesses.However, 10% of cholera patients do suffer from severe symptoms.

One method of treating cholera is rehydration. The objective is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes using a straightforward rehydration regiment, oral rehydration salts (ORS). The ORS regiment is accessible as a powder that can be reconstituted in boiled or filtered water. Without rehydration, a large portion of cholera patients would die. One of the treatments for cholera is rehydration. The number of deaths will reduce to less than 1% if the patients are given the correct amount of oral rehydration salts, and if necessary, intravenous fluids and electrolytes. Low-osmolarity oral rehydration treatment and oat based oral rehydration treatment are the most effective methods of administrating substitution liquids for generally patients (Hahn, Kim and Garner, 2001).

Another method of treating cholera is through the usage of antibiotics. While antibiotics are not the most important part of cholera treatment, however some form of medication may reduce the damage caused by the cholera with to loose bowels. In concurrence with rehydration treatments, antibiotics are recommended for severely ill patients. This is because some patients’ loose large volumes of water through diarrhoea during their rehydration treatment, and by preventing further loose bowel episodes, water loss will reduce. 500g of Doxycycline is prescribed as first-line treatment for adults in most countries (DE et al., 1976), while Azithromycin is given as first-line treatment for children and pregnant women (Bhattacharya et al., 2003).

Antibiotic susceptibility should be regularly controlled by testing isolated samples from several geographic regions, during an epidemic or outbreak. Guidelines are not recommend antibiotics as prophylaxis for cholera prevention, and all highlight that antibiotics should be used in combination with robust rehydration treatment. The usage of Zinc supplements is another form of therapeutic treatment. Research has demonstrated that zinc may decrease the occurrence of loose bowels in children with cholera. This was demonstrated by a study in Bangladesh (Roy et al., 2008). The study focused on 179 children, all aged between 3-14 years, who were admitted to hospitals and clinics within 24 hours of expressing cholera symptoms. All of the children received antibiotics and rehydration treatment, but some of the children received zinc supplements (10-20 mg) alongside the standard treatment procedure. The children who took the zinc supplements had diarrhoea for an average of eight hours less than those who did not, subsequently.

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