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What is cholera disease?

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by a bacterial infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholera bacteria. Infection happens through contaminated food or water. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life threatening. Cholera is a disease that causes vomiting and watery diarrhea (stool looks like cloudy rice water). It can cause death from dehydration (the loss of water and salts from the body) within hours if not treated. its germs are found in the feces (poop) of infected people.

How is cholera spread?

A person can get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with cholera bacteria. Drinking contaminated water or eating food prepared with contaminated water, are the most common sources of infection. Infection can also happen by eating raw or undercooked seafood, such as shellfish or eating raw fruits and vegetables. Cholera can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate infrastructure of sewage treatment but it is not likely to spread directly from one person to another.


Protect yourself and your family from cholera and other diarrheal diseases:

  • I. Drink and use SAFE WATER; safe water is:
    • Bottled with an unbroken seal,
    • Canned/bottled carbonated beverages
    • Boiled (complete boil for at least 1 minute),
    • Treated with a chlorine product (follow the product instructions),
    • Treated with household bleach. Add 8 drops of household bleach for every 1-gallon of water (or 2 drops of household bleach for every 1 liter of water) and wait 30 minutes before drinking.
    • Always store your treated water in a clean, covered container.
  1. * Piped water sources, drinks sold in cups or bags, or ice may not be safe and should be boiled or treated with chlorine. ••

  • II. Brush your teeth with Safe Water,
  • III. Prepare food and make ice with Safe Water,
  • IV. Clean food preparation areas and kitchenware with soap and safe water and let it dry completely before reuse.
  • V. Wash hands often with soap and safe water.
    • Before eating or preparing food.
    • Before feeding your children.
    • After using the latrine or toilet.
    • After cleaning your child’s bottom.
    • After taking care of someone ill with diarrhea.
  1. * If no soap is available, scrub hands often with ash or sand and rinse with safe water.

  • VI. Cook food well (especially seafood), Boil it, Cook it, Peel it, or Leave it!
    • Eat it hot,
    • Keep it covered,
    • Wash then peel fruits and vegetables.
  1. * Avoid raw foods other than fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself.

  • VII. Clean up safely—in the kitchen and in places where your family bathes and washes clothes.
  1. * Wash yourself, your children, diapers, and clothes, 30 meters (98 feet) away from drinking water sources.


What to do if you or your family are ill with diarrhea:

  • If you have oral rehydration solution (ORS), start taking it immediately, it can save your life.
  • Go immediately to the nearest health facility. Continue to drink ORS at home and while you travel to get treatment.
  • Continue to breastfeed your baby if they have watery diarrhea, even when traveling to get treatment.


If you are infected, use chemical toilets, latrines or bury your feces (poop).

  • Do not defecate in any body of water,
  • Wash hands with soap and safe water after defecating,
  • Clean latrines and surfaces contaminated with feces using a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water,


What if I don’t have a latrine or chemical toilet?

  • Defecate at least 30 meters (98 feet) away from any body of water and then bury your feces.
  • Dispose of plastic bags containing feces in latrines, at collection points if available, or bury it in the ground.
  • Do not put plastic bags in chemical toilets.
  • Dig new latrines or temporary pit toilets at least a half-meter (1.6 feet) deep and at least 30 meters (98 feet) away from any body of water.