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Cholera: Prevention and Control


What is cholera disease?

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  • Cholera disease causes a lot of watery diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Cholera diarrhea can look like cloudy rice water.
  • Cholera can cause death from dehydration (the loss of
    water and salts from the body) within hours if not treated.

How is cholera spread?

  • Cholera germs are found in the feces (poop) of infected people.
  • Cholera is spread when feces (poop) from an infected person gets into the water people drink or the food people eat.
  • Cholera is not likely to spread directly from one person to another.

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

  • Drink and use safe water.
    Safe water is water that is bottled with an unbroken seal, has been boiled, or has been treated with a chlorine product.
  • Wash hands often with soap and safe water.
    If no soap is available, scrub hands often with ash or sand and rinse with safe water.
  • Use latrines or bury your feces (poop), do not defecate in any body of water.
  • Cook food well (especially seafood), eat it hot, keep it covered, and peel fruits and vegetables.
  • Clean up safely—in the kitchen and in places where your family bathes and washes clothes.

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

  • If you have oral rehydration solution (ORS), start taking it now; it can save your life.
  • Go immediately to the nearest health facility, cholera treatment center, or community health worker, if you can. 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.

CDC Resources: Haiti Cholera Outbreak —
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    Atlanta, GA 30333
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  • Page last reviewed: November 4, 2010
  • Page last updated: November 4, 2010
  • Content source: Global Health The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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