Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Cholera

Acute infectious form of enteritis caused by the enterotoxin choleragen produced by a bacillus, Vibrio cholerae, in the human small intestine, where it causes abnormal secretion of fluids from the mucosal surface. In severe cases, cholera is manifested by severe, painless, watery diarrhea with the passing of rice-water stools, which are diagnostic, resulting in dehydration, saline depletion, acidosis, shock, effortless vomiting, muscle cramps, and a characteristic faint, high-pitched voice. Cholera is spread by feces-contaminated water and food. Mortality is 70% in untreated cases. Cholera has been implicated as a potential cause of the cystic fibrosis polymorphism.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"