An illness caused by infection with bacteria and often spread through contaminated water.


Cholera is caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria. The bacteria can spread in the stool of people with the infection, especially if the bacteria contaminate water supplies. These include water for drinking or water used for growing, watering or washing food.


Cholera bacteria make a toxin that causes the body to get rid of a large amount of water. Symptoms of cholera include vomiting, loose stools, dehydration, muscle cramps, seizures and shock caused by low blood volume. Cholera can be fatal if not treated right away.


Cholera treatment focuses on replacing lost fluids and minerals that the body needs to work correctly. In some situations, medicines that target bacteria, called antibiotics, may be used.