Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae strains 01 and 0139. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can be severe in about one in 20 cases. In severe cases the fatality rate can be as high as 50 per cent, but is less than one per cent with treatment.
Cholera has been very rare in industrialized nations for the last 100 years, due to drinking water sanitation and proper sewage treatment and disposal. However, the disease is still common today in other parts of the world, including the Indian subcontinent, Asia and most of Africa.