Risk factors for cholera (part 3)

Published : 05 Jul 2022 08:09 PM

Everyone is susceptible to cholera, with the exception of infants who get immunity from nursing mothers who have previously had cholera. Still, certain factors can make you more vulnerable to the disease or more likely to have severe signs and symptoms.

• Poor sanitary conditions: Cholera is more likely to flourish in situations where a sanitary environment — including a safe water supply — is difficult to maintain. Such conditions are common to refugee camps, impoverished countries, and areas afflicted by famine, war or natural disasters.

• Reduced or nonexistent stomach acid: Cholera bacteria can't survive in an acidic environment, and ordinary stomach acid often serves as a defense against infection. But people with low levels of stomach acid — such as children, older adults, and people who take antacids, H-2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors — lack this protection, so they're at greater risk of cholera.

• Household exposure: You're at increased risk of cholera if you live with someone who has the disease.

• Type O blood: For reasons that aren't entirely clear, people with type O blood are twice as likely to develop cholera compared with people with other blood types.

• Raw or undercooked shellfish: Although industrialized nations no longer have large-scale cholera outbreaks, eating shellfish from waters known to harbor the bacteria greatly increases your risk.

    Courtesy: Mayo Clinic