In most cases, treatment for cholera includes fluid replacement and antibiotics. These measures should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis. If treatment is started in a timely manner and in adequate volumes, the cholera mortality rate is reduced to well below 1 percent.
In countries where cholera occurs, people who develop severe vomiting and diarrhea should seek medical attention right away. When a cholera diagnosis is made, treatment should begin immediately. If started early, cholera symptoms and complications can be minimized. Treatment for cholera typically includes:
- Antibiotics (medicine that can kill the bacteria)
- Fluid replacement.
Antibiotics may be used as cholera treatment. Although they are not necessary to cure cholera, antibiotics typically shorten the course and diminish the severity of the illness. Medicine is not as important as rehydration.
In most cases, cholera can be treated simply and successfully by immediately replacing the salts and fluids that are lost through diarrhea. Fluid replacement usually involves an oral rehydration solution, which is a prepackaged mixture of sugar and salts that is mixed with water and drunk in large amounts. This solution is used throughout the world to treat diarrhea.
In severe cases, treatment for cholera may also require intravenous (IV) fluid replacement.
As long as cholera treatment is started in a timely manner and in adequate volumes, the mortality rate is well below 1 percent. Without proper treatment, the mortality rate is between 25 and 50 percent.