Small bowel tissue sample from patient with malabsorption from cholera.
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Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness, caused by infection of the intestine with strains of the Vibrio cholerae bacteria (serogroup O1 or O139) which produce toxin. Although illness can be mild, about 10% of infected people will have severe disease which can be life-threatening without proper treatment. A person can get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium, generally from the feces (poop) of an infected person.  Cholera is rare in the United States but, globally, cases of cholera have been increasing in the last decade.

Cholera is immediately reportable in Orange County.  To report a case, health care providers/facilities should call OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180.    One or fewer (0-1) cases of cholera were reported in California each year between 2011 and 2016, with none in Orange County.

For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website       

Last reviewed November 30, 2018

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