Cholera pp 209-228 | Cite as

Pathophysiology and Clinical Aspects of Cholera

  • G. H. Rabbani
  • William B. GreenoughIII
Part of the Current Topics in Infectious Disease book series (CTID)


Cholera may have been prevalent as an epidemic disease since antiquity (see Chapter 1), but only in the 1960s did research illuminate the mechanism of this disease. Before the discovery that a bacteria caused cholera, John Snow showed remarkable insight into the pathophysiology of the disease. For almost 80 years after Robert Koch’s isolation of Vibrio cholerae, the causative organism of epidemic cholera, however, a false idea of pathophysiology was propagated from teachings of Virchow.1 In 1959, SN De2 in India demonstrated that Vibrio cholerae produces a diarrheagenic toxin (cholera toxin). Over the next 30 years the toxin was fully characterized as were the mechanisms of toxin-induced diarrhea.3 In cholera patients, the origin and characteristics of diarrheal fluids were determined, the molecular basis of the action of cholera toxin (CT) was demonstrated, and its clinical consequences were established. Effective, low-cost therapeutic interventions were designed. This chapter will examine the progressive development of knowledge concerning the pathophysiologic and clinical aspects of cholera.


Cholera Toxin Potassium Secretion Diarrheal Stool Mucus Coat Cholera Patient 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. H. Rabbani
  • William B. GreenoughIII

There are no affiliations available

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