Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.
Modern sewage and water treatment have virtually eliminated cholera in industrialized countries. The last major outbreak in the United States occurred in 1911. But cholera is still present in Africa, Southeast Asia, Haiti and central Mexico. The risk of cholera epidemic is highest when poverty, war or natural disasters force people to live in crowded conditions without adequate sanitation.
Cholera is easily treated. Death results from severe dehydration that can be prevented with a simple and inexpensive rehydration solution.