Treatments for Cholera
Typically, cholera treatment includes fluid replacement and antibiotics. In severe cases, intravenous (IV) fluid replacement may be necessary. It is very important that treatment is started as soon as possible after diagnosis. If prompt and appropriate treatment is given, the mortality rate is reduced to well under one percent.
People who develop severe diarrhea and vomiting, especially in countries where cholera occurs, should seek medical attention promptly. When a cholera diagnosis is made, treatment should begin immediately. If treatment is started early, cholera symptoms and complications can be minimized. Treatments options for cholera can include:
- Fluid replacement
- Antibiotics (medicine that can kill the bacteria).
Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediate replacement of the fluid and salts that are lost through diarrhea. Fluid replacement treatment 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, cholera treatment also requires intravenous (IV) fluid replacement.
Antibiotics may also be used as treatment for cholera. Although they are not necessary to cure the disease, antibiotics typically shorten the course and diminish the severity of the illness. Medicine for cholera is not as important as rehydration in the treatment of this condition.
If treatment is started in a timely manner and in adequate volumes, the cholera mortality rate is reduced to well under 1 percent. Without proper treatment, the mortality rate is between 25 and 50 percent.