b. Cholera. Cholera is a serious disease caused by the bacteria Vibria
cholerae. Its symptoms include sudden onset, profuse watery stools, vomiting, rapid
dehydration, and circulatory collapse. Death may occur within a few hours of onset.
The death rate may exceed 50 percent in untreated cases, but is usually about one
percent in treated cases. While cholera has been virtually absent from the Western
Hemisphere since 1911, it still exists in many parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and
Eastern Europe. An effective vaccine for cholera is available and military personnel and
their dependents traveling to areas where cholera is present are required to be
c. Bacterial Food Poisoning. Bacterial food poisoning results from a
combination of three conditions: contamination of food by bacteria, sufficient time for the
bacteria to reproduce, and a temperature favorable to bacterial growth. The two kinds
of bacterial food poisoning of primary military importance are salmonellosis and
staphylococcal food poisoning.
(1) Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is actually an infection rather than a
poisoning. It is caused by Salmonella bacteria in food. Symptoms include sudden
onset of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Fever and dehydration are
usually present. Deaths are uncommon except in the very young, the very old, and
persons weakened from other causes.
(2) Staphylococcal food poisoning. Staphylococcal food poisoning is
caused by eating food containing a toxin (poison) produced by staphylococci bacteria
multiplying in food. Symptoms appear from one to six hours after eating food containing
the poison. Symptoms include severe nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and
prostration. Deaths are rare and the duration of the illness is usually not longer than a
day or two.
d. Infectious Hepatitis. Infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A) is a viral disease
characterized by fever, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, and a general ill
feeling. These signs and symptoms are followed within a few days by jaundice, a
condition characterized by a yellowish coloration of the skin. It varies from a mild illness
lasting one or two weeks to a severely disabling disease lasting several months. A long
period of convalescence is usually required. This disease is not to be confused with
serum hepatitis (hepatitis B), a similar but more severe disease transmitted by
contaminated hypodermic needles, surgical instruments, blood transfusions, and so
forth. (para 1-38).
1-23. METHODS OF TRANSMISSION OF INTESTINAL DISEASES
The most common means of transmission of intestinal diseases are often
referred to as the "5 F's": feces, fingers, flies, food, and fluids. The principal source of
infection is the feces of man; but poultry, eggs, rodents, and fish may also be involved.
Infection may be spread in any of the following ways.