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  • Date Submitted: 11/28/2013 11:50 AM
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Cholera essay

Cholera is a disease caused by a prokaryotic organism called vibrio cholerae, this bacterium has flagellum as it is prokaryotic and contains no unit bound organelles.

The bacterium is transmitted through excrement of faeces and if this comes into contact with drinking water, the bacteria can infect people.
Bacteria can also spread to food, if people don't wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet meaning it can be spread from person to person.

The symptoms of cholera include; extreme diarrhoea (as much as a litre an hour), vomiting for hours on end, and may also lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which could then cause death.
This is because the cholera bacterium produces a toxin, which affects chloride ion exchange.

The toxin causes the chloride ion protein channels in the plasma membranes of the small intestine epithelial cells to open; the chloride ions then move into the lumen of the small intestine, this build up of chloride ions lower the water potential in the lumen. Consequently water moves out of the blood, across the epithelial cells and into the lumen by osmosis, the increase of water secretion in the lumen results in a high amount of water being lost from the body, which is what causes the symptoms.
Ways to prevent cholera spreading would be; proper sewage systems, treating water, hygiene such as washing hands after using toilet and preparing food, also covering food which may come into contact the bacterium.

The quickest way to replace fluids in the body would be through a drip however not everywhere has access to drips, so cholera can be treated by methods such as oral rehydration therapy. Which involves a solution drink containing large amounts of salts (sodium and chloride ions) and sugars (glucose and sucrose) and water.
This replaces the sodium ions lost from the epithelium of the intestine and increases glucose absorption, which provides energy as well as the chloride ions increasing water...


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