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Category: Infectious Diseases
This is an acute infectious disease caused by a specific
organism and characterized by profuse watery discharges from the bowels
and great prostration.
Causes. Some inherit a weakness, making them more susceptible than others
to this disease. Other causes are intemperance, general debility,
unhygienic surroundings, exciting causes. The spirillum (cholera
asiaticus) found in the stools, watery discharges and intestines of
affected cases and its transmission by infected food and water.
Symptoms. After an incubation period of about one to five days, the
invasion is marked either by simple diarrhea with some general ill-feeling
and prostration, or by abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhea. Mild cases
may recover at this time. In the stage of collapse, there are frequent
watery movements resembling rice water, with vomiting, great thirst,
abdominal pains and eruptions on the legs. There is sudden collapse and
temperature that is below normal; nearly all secretions are greatly
diminished. In the so-called cases of cholera sicca (dry) death occurs
before the diarrhea begins, although a rice water fluid is found in the
intestines after death. After two to twenty-four hours those who have not
died may recover or pass into the stage of reaction in which the signs of
collapse and purging disappear. After improvement, with slight rise of
temperature at times, there may be a relapse or the patient may have
inflammation of some of the viscera (cavity organs) and suppression of the
urine with delirium, coma and death.
The prognosis is worse in infancy, old age and debilitated persons, and in
cases of rapid collapse, low temperature and great blueness. Death rate
from thirty to eighty per cent.
Treatment. Isolate the patient and disinfect all discharges and clothing.
Use boiled water during an epidemic.
For pain, morphine hypodermically, and apply hot applications to the
For vomiting. Wash out the stomach and give cocaine, ice, coffee, brandy
or water by the mouth. Intestines may be irrigated with a two per cent
solution of tannic acid.
During collapse. Hypodermic of camphor, hot applications to the body.
Good nursing and careful diet.
Next: YELLOW FEVER