Definition of Disease...
WHAT IS CHOLERA?
Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection
of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Most
infected persons have no symptoms or only mild diarrhea. However,
persons with severe disease can die within a few hours after
onset due to loss of fluid and salts through profuse diarrhea
and, to a lesser extent, through vomiting if not properly
treated. How does a person get cholera?
Cholera is transmitted by ingestion of contaminated food
or water through municipal water supplies, ice made from that
water, foods and beverages bought from street vendors, and
vegetables irrigated with fresh sewage. Travelers should not
assume municipal water in affected areas is safe to drink,
even if the local information is reassuring. Previous experience
in other cholera epidemics and other epidemiological investigations
also suggest that raw and undercooked seafood are important
in the transmission. It is particularly important to avoid
raw or undercooked seafood.
WHAT IS THE RISK FOR CHOLERA IN THE USA?
Food borne outbreaks have been caused by contaminated seafood
brought into this country by travelers. Cases of cholera have
occurred in the United States after people brought back crabs
in their luggage from South America. Travelers should not
bring back perishable crabs or seafood when they return to
the United States.
WHAT SHOULD TRAVELERS DO TO AVOID CHOLERA?
Since cholera is associated with areas of poor sanitation,
the risk of cholera in travelers who follow the normal tourist
itineraries has been exceedingly low in other cholera epidemics.
When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease
All travelers to areas where cholera has occurred should
observe the following recommendations:
- Drink only water that you have boiled or treated with
chlorine or iodine. Other safe beverages include tea and
coffee made with boiled water and carbonated, bottled beverages
with no ice.
- Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are
still hot or fruit that you have peeled yourself. - Avoid
undercooked or raw fish or shellfish, including ceviche.
Make sure all vegetables are cooked-avoid salads.
Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors.
Do not bring perishable seafood back to the United States.
- A simple rule of thumb is: "Boil it, cook it, peel
it, or forget it."
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C. Michael Lewis, D.O.
G-8195 S. South Saginaw Street
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Phone: (810) 694-5393
Toll Free: 800-966-5393
Fax: (810) 694-5394