If a person becomes infected with cholera, the cure involves early treatment with fluid replacement and possibly antibiotics. Without proper treatment, the disease is curable about 50 percent of the time; if treatment is started in a timely manner and in adequate volumes, a cure is possible in more than 99 percent of cases.
Preventing infection in the first place is the best cholera cure. If a person does develop the disease, the next best cure is early and prompt treatment.
Because of advanced sanitation and water systems, cholera is not a major threat in the United States; however, as a result of improved transportation, more people from the United States are traveling to parts of Africa, Asia, or Latin America, where cholera epidemics are occurring. For these people, prevention of cholera involves avoiding contaminated food and water.
Travelers who follow the usual tourist itineraries and observe food safety recommendations while traveling in countries reporting cholera have virtually no risk. Those who drink untreated water or eat poorly cooked or raw seafood in disease-endemic (prevalent) areas have a greater risk.
(Click Prevention of Cholera for more information.)
If a person does develop symptoms, it is often possible to cure cholera with early treatment. Treatments for cholera can include:
- Antibiotics (medicine that can kill the bacteria)
- Fluid replacement.
Although they are not necessary to cure cholera, antibiotics may be used to treat the disease because they typically shorten the course and diminish the severity of the illness. Medicine is not as important as rehydration in cholera treatment.