Cholera: A Disease Of Poverty Essay

596 words - 2 pages

Cholera: A Disease of Poverty

Cholera is an infectious intestinal disease common in Southern Asia.
Cholera is caused by a comma-shaped bacterium called Vibrio Choleras. The
microorganism is transmitted by water or food that has been contaminated
with the feces of people who have the disease. Cholera occurs when Vibrio
Cholera enters the intestines and releases Cholera toxin. The toxin causes
the intestine to secrete large amounts of water and salt. Because the
intestine cannot absorb the water and salt at the rate they are secreted,
the patient suffers severe diarrhea. This loss of fluid causes severe
dehydration and changes in the body chemistry. If untreated, the illness
can lead to shock and eventually death. With proper treatment, Cholera
lasts only a few days. Prevention of Cholera requires adequate sanitation
facilities. A vaccine against the illness has been developed, but it is
not very effective. People who travel in areas where Cholera is widespread
should not drink the local water. They should cook all foods that may have
been exposed to water. Peru, already afflicted by economic ills and
feastering guerilla insurgency, is now plagued by an epidemic of Cholera.

As of February 25, 1991, the disease had claimed 90 lives and infected at
least 14,000 people. It is the first major outbreak of Cholera in the
western hemisphere since early in this century. In Peru, local authorities
have moved quickly to stem the epidemic, which is spread by poor hygiene
and contaminated water, raw food, and fish. To avoid spreading, health
officials in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile, have prohibited the importation
of uncooked Peruvian food products. Coastal waters have shown a high
degree of contamination by testings. In early May 1991, as Cholera began to
spread eastward into PeruÕs jungle, volunteer doctors from Lima began to
navigate the rivers with...

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