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Microbiology: Critical Thinking Report, Case Study Example

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Case Study

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine that is a major cause of mortality in some third world countries. It’s caused by the microbe Vibrio cholera, which is delivered to the human host by consumption of contaminated food and water. Usually, people have cholera in areas where there is no effective sanitation, contributing to the likelihood that fecal matter will come into contact with food sources. The major symptoms associated with cholera are watery diarrhea and vomiting. These symptoms lead to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to death in some cases. This disease affects between 3 and 5 million people per year and between 100,000 to 130,000 people end up dying from it (Reidl, 2002).

Cholera can be prevented altogether if proper sanitation practices are followed. In developing countries, this involves water treatment and sterilization processes. In countries where there are established sewage treatment programs, cholera is not an issue. In addition, there is a vaccine that has been established for this disease called Dukoral. It currently has limited availability and has been shown to only help half of those exposed to the microbe.

Once someone actually becomes affected with cholera, they must partake in activities that will help restore normal intestinal function. Therefore, they should eat regularly and hydrate themselves as much as possible. If someone has severe dehydration, they will benefit through use of an IV; as much as 10% of a person’s total body weight in water should be delivered to them during the first few hours of this severe case. When a person becomes severely dehydrated, they suffer from an electrolyte imbalance; it is therefore useful to provide the patient with extra potassium. Antibiotic treatment has shown effective in minimizing the course of the disease. When antibiotics are used, there is less of a need to maintain high levels of fluids in the patient, although this is still necessary. Doxycycline is the antibiotic that is most frequently used in this situation (Ramamurthy, 2008).

References

Ramamurthy, T. (2008). Antibiotic resistance in Vibrio cholerae. Vibrio cholerae: Genomics and          molecular biology. Caister Academic Press.

Reidl J, Klose KE. (June 2002). Vibrio cholerae and cholera: out of the water and into the host. FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 26 (2): 125–39.

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