Shiken premium Upgrade Banner


Vibrio cholerae is a motile curved gram negative rod, and is the cause of secretory diarrhoea that is caused by a toxin which acts on the enterocytes. The incubation period can vary from a few hours up to three days.


This disease is typically spread through faecal contamination of potable drinking water.


Patients may experience an abrupt and painless watery diarrhoea which is referred to as 'rice-water' diarrhoea, and can be present in quantities up to thirty litres a day.


The main signs of this disease include profound dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, specifically reduced levels of sodium, chloride and bicarbonate.


  • Blood tests: U&E (which will usually find increased levels of urea and creatinine due to dehydration).
  • ABG: Metabolic acidosis due to the loss of bicarbonate in stool.
  • Microbiology: Stool culture.


Treatment of this disease typically involves accurate fluid balance, oral rehydration solutions, and intravenous fluids.


Possible complications of cholera can include circulatory collapse, arrhythmias, and death.


Excellent with treatment and support, the introduction of oral rehydration solutions has drastically reduced the mortality rate of severe cholera from fifty percent down to one percent.

Join Shiken For FREE

Gumbo Study Buddy

Explore More Subject Explanations

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 10,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime