Cholera - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatment
Health Education

Treating Cholera

Dr.K K Durga Prasad profile Authored by Dr.K K Durga Prasad on 17 Jul 2014 - 14:26.


Cholera is an acute infection of the small intestine, caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio Cholerae, found in faecally contaminated food or water.

Cholera is primarily linked to the regions where there is inadequate access to safe water and proper sanitation. It is one of the most virulent diseases affecting people of all ages, if untreated, may lead to coma and death.

Ingestion of the following may lead to development of Cholera:

  • Municipal water and ice.
  • Unhygienic street food.
  • Undercooked sea food obtained from polluted water.
  • Consumption of crops grown with water containing traces of faecal matter.
  • Watery diarrhea and pellucid vomiting are the initial symptoms of Cholera.
  • Due to extreme loss of fluids, skin color may change to bluish-grey and blood pressure may also drops.
  • Other symptoms include thirst, decreased urine, lethargy, dry mouth and cold skin with wrinkles.
  • Muscle cramps, seizures and coma may also be experienced by patients due to electrolyte imbalance.

The following tests can be performed for the diagnosis:

  • Culture test of stool specimen
  • Rapid dipstick test

Majority of the patients may respond positively to Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), which is regarded as the standard treatment by World Health Organization (WHO).

Approximate volume of ORS required in first four hours


<4 months

4-11 months

12-23 months

2-4 years

5-14 years

≥15 years


< 5kg

5-7.9 kg

8-10.9 kg

11-15.9 kg

16-29.9 kg

≥ 30 kg

ORS (ml)







Patients suffering from severe diarrhea can be treated by administering intravenous fluids such as Ringer Lactate (RL) solution.

Antibiotics can also be added in the treatment for rapid elimination of bacteria in patients above 2 years of age. Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Ampicillin, Erythromycin and Ciprofloxacin are the ideal antibiotics for Cholera.

Zinc solution may prove to be helpful in children suffering from Cholera, owing to its potential for decreasing the frequency of episodes.


  • Fluids should be given in small quantities to avoid getting vomit.
  • Fresh fruits, butter milk and boiled rice are preferred during treatment.
  • Steamed vegetables, lime and honey should be a part of the diet.
  • Normal diet can be started and infants can be breastfed, once vomiting has been subsided.
  • Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) is available in the market, but it is not recommended by WHO due to its lower efficacy and high risk of adverse reactions.
  • Maintaining a hygienic environment is crucial in preventing Cholera.
  • Boil and filter your water before drinking it.
  • Utilize proper water for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash your hands properly before eating.
*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.