Cholera is an acute infection of the intestine, which begins suddenly with painless watery diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Most people who become infected have very mild diarrhoea or symptom-free infection. Malnourished people in particular experience more severe symptoms. Severe cholera cases present with profuse diarrhoea and vomiting. Severe, untreated cholera can lead to rapid dehydration and death. If untreated, 50% of people with severe cholera will die, but prompt and adequate treatment reduces this to less than 1% of cases. Cholera outbreaks can occur sporadically in any part of the world where water supplies, sanitation, food safety and hygiene practices are inadequate. Overcrowded communities with poor sanitation and unsafe drinking-water supplies are most frequently affected.
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