Alternate Names : V. cholerae, Vibrio
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that causes a large amount of watery diarrhea.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The bacteria releases a toxin that causes increased release of water in the intestines, which produces severe diarrhea.
Cholera occurs in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine. Common locations for cholera include:
- South and Central America
- The Mediterranean
People get the infection by ingesting contaminated food or water.
A type of vibrio bacteria also has been associated with shellfish, especially raw oysters.
Risk factors include:
- Exposure to contaminated or untreated drinking water
- Living in or traveling to areas where there is cholera
Pictures & Images
The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.
Digestive system organs
The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.
Review Date : 2/21/2009
Reviewed By : George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.