[toc]Cholera is an acute epidemic infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium called vibrio cholera. A soluble toxin elaborated in the intestinal tract by the bacterium activates the adenylate cylase of the mucosa that causes secretions of an isotonic fluid that results in profuse watery diarrhea, extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes, dehydration, weakness and collapse, but no gross morphological change in the intestinal mucosa.
Thus, the main cause of cholera is the bacterium vibrio cholera which can be transmitted in a variety of ways. There are many ways in which cholera spreads. In this write-up, we have emphasized on a few of the most common and obvious causes that lead to cholera. Let us take a look!
Various Causes Of Cholera
Talking of regions that have been affected by the vibrio cholera and where cholera is widespread, in these regions grains can serve as a medium for the growth of cholera bacteria.
The grains such as millet and rice that are contaminated with the bacteria after cooking and then allowed to persist at room temperature for more than a few hours can become a major cause of spreading cholera disease.
In situations where the brackish rivers and coastal waters are contaminated by the bacteria that cause cholera, the sea creatures get ingested by the bacteria too. Eating such infected sea fishes and animals can end up infecting human beings with the bacteria too, thus, spreading cholera in large numbers.
Eating raw or undercooked shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico can result in causing cholera. This is because the Gulf of Mexico proved to be infected with the virus as most of the recent cholera cases in The United States have occurred as a result of eating seafood from the water body.
The bacterium vibrio cholera can occur naturally in the coastal waters. Here, the bacteria can get attached to tiny crustaceans that are called copepods. The cholera bacteria travel with their hosts and spread worldwide as the cirustaceans follow their food source which is certain types of algae and plankton.
These algae and plankton grow tremendously in large numbers when the temperature of water rises. Algae growth is further fuelled by urea that is found in the sewage and agricultural runoff. Thus, natural environment also plays a very important role in the spreading of cholera.
Raw Fruits And Vegetables
One of the most frequent sources of the spread of cholera disease are raw and unpeeled fruits and vegetables. However, this is prevalent only in areas where cholera is endemic as in these regions the fruits and vegetables also get contaminated with the bacteria.
In the developing countries, uncomposted manure fertilizers and irrigation water that contain raw sewage can end up contaminating the produce of the fields.
When humans ingest the bacteria of cholera, they may or may not become sick themselves. However, they may pass on the bacteria in their stool. Such contaminated stool contaminates food and water supplies and these can serve as the ideal breeding grounds for the cholera bacteria.