|Cholera: Basic Facts for Travellers (WHO, 1998, 2 p.)|
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. A person can become infected by drinking water or eating food contaminated by the bacterium. Common sources of infection are raw or poorly cooked seafood, raw fruit and vegetables, and other foods that have been contaminated during preparation or storage.
Most episodes of cholera are mild. Persons who have been infected may have no symptoms or only mild diarrhoea. Others, however, develop very severe watery diarrhoea and vomiting. The loss of large amounts of fluids can rapidly lead to severe dehydration causing death - sometimes within three to four hours - if the patient is not adequately treated.