Is Cholera Contagious?
Cholera is one of the most dangerous infections that has claimed the lives of many people especially people living in very poor environmental areas. These are areas where there is poor sanitation, poor ventilation, and dirty water. Most of the victims of cholera over many years have been children. However, adults can suffer the infection as well.
Different countries have tried as much as possible to educate people on the danger of cholera and the best ways to prevent it. Nevertheless, the infection has remained a menace in many places in the world, even as there are few cases in others.
It is important to know that a cholera infection causes very painful and dangerous symptoms that can quickly result in death. Due to direness of the effects caused by the infection, many people want to know as much as possible and ask questions about it.
One of them is whether cholera is contagious. In addition to discussing whether cholera is contagious or not, we will look at some other questions people usually have regarding the disease. Answers to these questions will help everyone understand the infection better.
What Is Cholera?
Cholera is an infection related to the intestines. Once you have the infection, the main affected parts of the body are the intestines. However, not only does it cause complications in the intestines but other parts of the body.
Cholera is caused by bacteria called Vibrio cholerae. Once you have the infection, it quickly causes dehydration due to the watery vomiting and diarrhea a victim experiences. Dehydration often leads to other serious complications in the body such as kidney failure and seizures.
However, it is possible for cholera to cause only minimal or even no symptoms at all in some people. These people can have the infection yet experience only mild symptoms. In such cases, cholera can be very dangerous since the infection develops slowly in the body.
What Is “Contagious”
There are thousands of infections that can be termed contagious. There are are many common infections but there are some that can be very dangerous. If an infection is contagious, it means that it can be transmitted from one person to another. Infections that are contagious are more dangerous because of the following reasons.
ü The infection spreads easily from one person to another.
ü Some people do not know that they have the infection and easily transmit it to others.
ü They often require complicated measures to prevent transmission.
Is Cholera Contagious?
Yes. Cholera is an infection that is very contagious. This means that the infection can be easily transmitted from one person to another. Irrespective of the fact that different contagious infections are transmitted differently, you should be very careful with regard to such infections.
Apart from being contagious, cholera is known to be caused by other factors which involve infected surroundings.The main factor that makes cholera contagious is the cause of the disease itself, the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which has the ability to survive in very many environmental conditions.
How Is Cholera Spread from One Person to Another?
The cholera-causing bacteria Vibrio cholerae is capable of surviving for a very long time and in different conditions. This makes the bacteria active even without a host. Once a person has cholera, there bacteria multiply. As a result, they can be found in different parts of the body.
Here are some of the places and objects that can be contaminated with cholera bacteria from an infected person.
- The stool. Once you have cholera, the bacteria responsible for causing the infection grow and multiply in the body. As a result, stool contains Vibrio cholerae bacteria. Touching the stool of an infected person without protective materials such as gloves can transmit cholera.
- Flies can also be a factor in causing cholera. When flies land on waste from an infected person, they carry some of the bacteria with them. This can contaminate food they land on.
- Contaminated water. People with the infection can easily contaminate water by either vomiting or urinating in it.
At What Time Is Cholera No Longer Contagious?
In many contagious infections, there is a period during which an infectious disease can be considered not contagious. However, in such cases, the period should be arrived at by undergoing the right treatment. Once you are treated, bacteria strength and count are reduced.
With respect to cholera, however, this period is not easily achieved. It requires continuous and special treatment before a person can be considered safe. It is also strongly advised that one not risk matters until a doctor determines that the condition is no longer contagious.
For a person to be considered no longer contagious:
- One should no longer have cholera symptoms.
- The symptoms should not be detectable even through a test.
- There should be no Vibrio cholerae bacteria detected in the patient’s stool.
Incubation Period for Cholera
The incubation period for any infection refers to the period between the time a person is exposed to the bacteria and the time the symptoms start showing. For cholera, this period is very short compared with some other infections.
The incubation period for cholera is known to be between 12 hours and 5 days. Within this period, a victim will start experiencing symptoms that demonstrate cholera. As time continues, the symptoms develop from mild to severe. If you do not seek medical attention early enough, the effects can be fatal.
The incubation period can vary from one person to another. This mostly depends on the strength of each individual's immunity.
How to Stay Safe from a Contagious Person
Since cholera is a contagious infection, keeping yourself from transmitting the infection is important. This can be difficult since the infection spreads very fast due to the nature of Vibrio cholerae bacteria. Since the bacteria are able to survive in different kinds of areas for a long time, it can be difficult to identify areas inhabited by the bacteria.
Here are some of the ways through which you can avoid getting cholera:
a) Use gloves when handling cholera patients. Vibrio cholerae bacteria can easily be spread from the sick person to you. To prevent this, nurses, doctors, and any other person handling cholera victims should use gloves.
b) Ensure the proper disposal of waste, especially stool, produced by cholera patients. Stool is known to carry the highest number of Vibrio cholerae bacteria from a person infected with cholera. Any person who touches an infected person's stool can get the infection through the bacteria. Ensuring proper disposal of waste will also keep it out of reach of children who might touch such things out of curiosity or a desire to play with various things.
c) Make sure you properly clean clothes and bedding belonging to or used by infected people. This can be done by making sure you use disinfectants to clean the materials. This helps kill any bacteria that might have accumulated in the bedding or clothes. Also, use gloves when handling and laundering them.
d) Once you notice any of the signs and symptoms of cholera, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This helps in getting the infection treated early enough to prevent the chances of its transmittal from from one person to another. People living in the same home as the cholera victim must also learn how they can avoid catching the disease and prevent the spread of the infection.
The Bottom Line
Cholera is a dangerous infection that can easily lead to very dire symptoms. The infection is mostly known to result from the use of contaminated water. Cholera is also known to spread very fast especially in highly congested areas.
It is important to take precautions, first and foremost by maximizing cleanliness around you to prevent or lower the risk of cholera. It is also recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as you experience any symptoms.