The Impact Of Cholera In Zambia, Africa

2013 words - 8 pages

The Impact of Cholera in Zambia, Africa
Many people in advanced industrialized nations are often unaware of infectious diseases that plague underdeveloped countries. This is primarily due to factors that are so often taken for granted like having proper sanitation, adequately treated water, properly prepared food, easy access to medical care, and economic viability. The sad truth is that many of these infectious diseases could easily be prevented if the countries where they run most rampant had only a few of the factors mentioned above. The concentration of this paper will be to focus on one such disease named Cholera and its impact on the country of Zambia, Africa.
In order to adequately discuss Cholera's impact on Zambia, Africa I will be providing an overview of the disease, discussing it's etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and finally its prevention and treatment.
Disease Overview
Cholera is still an extremely significant disease worldwide with over 5 million cases being reported per year (Ruiting & Reeves, 2002). Cholera is a diarrheal illness that progresses rapidly and is contracted by ingesting the bacterium Vibrio cholerae which causes an intestinal infection (CDC, 2013). In many cases the illness is mild with hardly any symptoms at all, but in some cases it can become severe. Approximately 5 percent of people who are infected exhibit severe symptoms such as extreme watery diarrhea, leg cramps, and vomiting (CDC, 2013). These symptoms usually occur at a rapid pace and unless treated can further lead to dehydration and shock which can ultimately cause death within hours. It is estimated that over 100,000 deaths occur each year around the world due to Cholera. (CDC, 2013)
Cholera is thought by experts to have originated in India during the 19th century (WHO, 2014). Since 1817 seven pandemics of Cholera have been recorded with the current one starting in Asia in the 1960's and spreading to Africa in the early 1970's (Ruiting & Reeves, 2002 ). Cholera historically has the greatest incidence of spreading in underdeveloped countries in the wake of natural disasters and wars which both lead to large displacements of the populace into make shift refugee camps with poor sanitation (Cowan, Bunn, & Herzog, 2013). Zambia has been a prime target for this disease due to it's annual floods, poverty and poor sanitation (UNICEF, 2010).
Etiology, Virulence and Transmission
The etiology of Cholera primarily stems from an individual consuming drinking water or food that is contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae which in turn causes an infection of the intestines (CDC, 2013). The source of the contamination is usually from the feces of a person who is already infected with the bacteria and has spread because of improper sanitation (CDC 2013). Hence the transmission of the disease follows the fecal-oral route (Finklestein, 1996). This scenario is definitely more prevalent in underdeveloped countries like Zambia that...

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