Home Columns VIBRIO Cholerae; a Colonial Master by Asmau Ahmad

VIBRIO Cholerae; a Colonial Master by Asmau Ahmad

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Written by Asmau Ahmad.

Majority of us have witness someone vomits while purging, so pathetic right? Well it might be cause by Vibrio cholerae that is capable of colonizing the intestine of the person, building a home in the gut, producing millions of babies, making itself very comfortable in the stomach, and making the individual sick and dehydrated. Vibrio tends to suck body fluids and therefore making the person weak as well.

Sanitation and personal hygiene plays a vital role in our health. People do not seem to care about the sanity of their environments, our sewage disposal system is bad, we throw trash everywhere, and some build wells near soak away, some build kitchens near latrines, and others drink from unhygienic source of water, or eat from various unknown sources of food processing method. Vibrio cholerae a bacterium which dwells in these sources is very deadly which can be epidemic and can death.

Vibrio cholerae is a bacterium which causes cholera. Cholera is a severe acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated, which in its extreme manifestation is one of the most rapidly fatal illnesses known. A healthy person may become very ill within an hour of the onset of symptoms and may die within 2-3 hours if no treatment is provided. More commonly, the disease progresses from the first liquid stool to shock in 4-12 hours, with death following in 18 hours to several days. Cholera can be gotten by ingestion of food and water contaminated by the bacterium.


Cholera transmission is closely linked to inadequate environmental management. Typical at-risk areas include peri-urban slums, where basic infrastructure is not available, as well as camps for internally displaced people or refugees, where minimum requirements of clean water and sanitation are not met. The consequences of a disaster – such as disruption of water and sanitation systems, or the displacement of populations to inadequate and overcrowded camps can increase the risk of cholera transmission should the bacteria be present or introduced. Also it can be gotten from contact with an ill person’s stool and vomit.


Cholera is an extremely deadly disease. It affects both children and adults and can kill within hours. About 75% of people infected with the bacterium do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their stools for 7–14 days after infection and are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people. Among people who develop symptoms, 80% have mild or moderate symptoms, while around 20% develop acute watery diarrhea with severe dehydration (loss of water).  People with low immunity such as malnourished children or people living with HIV are at a greater risk of death if infected.

Treatment of cholera

Up to 80% of cases can be successfully treated with prompt administration of oral rehydration salts. Very severely dehydrated patients require administration of intravenous fluids. Such patients also require appropriate antibiotics to diminish the duration of diarrhea, reduce the volume of rehydration fluids needed, and shorten the duration of V. cholerae excretion. Mass administration of antibiotics is not recommended, as it has no effect on the spread of Cholera and contributes to increasing antimicrobial resistance.

Asmau Ahmad is a young female microbiologist and leaves in Kano, Nigeria. She can be reached via asmeee@yahoo.com


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