Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection. It can kill healthy adults within hours.
The disease is characterized in its most severe form by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhoea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure. The extremely short incubation period – two hours to five days – enhances the potentially explosive pattern of outbreaks, as the number of cases can rise very quickly. Cholera is an extremely virulent disease that affects both children and adults.
Cholera is an easily treatable disease. The prompt administration of oral rehydration salts to replace lost fluids nearly always results in cure. In especially severe cases, intravenous administration of fluids may be required to save the patient’s life.