Cholera requires immediate treatment because the disease can cause death within hours.
June 16, 2016
- Rehydration. The goal is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes using a simple rehydration solution, oral rehydration salts (ORS). The ORS solution is available as a powder that can be reconstituted in boiled or bottled water. Without rehydration, approximately half the people with cholera die. With treatment, the number of fatalities drops to less than 1 percent.
- Intravenous fluids. During a cholera epidemic, most people can be helped by oral rehydration alone, but severely dehydrated people may also need intravenous fluids.
- Antibiotics. While antibiotics are not a necessary part of cholera treatment, some of these drugs may reduce both the amount and duration of cholera-related diarrhea. A single dose of doxycycline (Monodox, Oracea, Vibramycin) or azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) may be effective.
- Zinc supplements. Research has shown that zinc may decrease and shorten the duration of diarrhea in children with cholera.
- Harris JB, et al. Cholera. The Lancet. 2012;379:2466.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 18, 2013.
- Cholera — Vibrio cholera infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cholera/index.html. Accessed Nov. 18, 2013.
- Cholera. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs107/en/. Accessed Nov. 18, 2013.
- Brooks GF, et al. Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology. 26th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=57032697&searchStr=cholera. Accessed Nov. 18, 2013.
- WHO position paper on oral rehydration salts to reduce mortality from cholera. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/cholera/technical/en/. Accessed Dec. 30, 2013.