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Cholera is a contagious, gastrointestinal infection which can lead to profuse diarrhea, causing the patient to lose up to 24 litres of fluid in 24 hours. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the bacteria vibrio cholerae, which typically is carried in water. Cholera epidemics are common in Indian and South America and in areas with bad sanitation. The only treatment is plenty of fluids, with salt and sugar added. Despite the simple treatment, some 120,000 people die of cholera each year.
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