Treatment

Cholera requires immediate treatment because the disease can cause death within hours.

  • 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 for people who are severely ill.
  • Zinc supplements. Research has shown that zinc may decrease and shorten the duration of diarrhea in children with cholera.
March 09, 2017
References
  1. Kliegman RM, et al. Cholera. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 9, 2016.
  2. Ferri FF. Cholera. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 9, 2016.
  3. Cholera — Vibrio cholera infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cholera/index.html. Accessed Nov. 9, 2016.
  4. Cholera. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs107/en/. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  5. LaRocque R, et al. Overview of cholera. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  6. WHO position paper on oral rehydration salts to reduce mortality from cholera. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/cholera/technical/en/. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  7. FDA approves vaccine to prevent cholera for travelers. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm506305.htm. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.