Does my friend have Cholera?

My best friend has been in 3 hospitals within the last 15 weeks.
He exhibits the syptoms below:
rice-watery diarrhea
severe stomach pains which have spread through the whole digestive system (acid-indegestion, prostrating, constipation)
fear of impending doom
burning skin pain
He also has had unmedicated hepatitis C since 1993

btw. He has recently had rapid weight loss.
little appetite and occasional disgust with eating.

IANAD. You friend, obviously IS under the care of doctors.

That said I would hold it unlikely, unless your friends has recently been in a place with very poor sanitation, that he has contracted Cholera. Cholera is at the same time incredibly serious (it can kill you in 18 hours) and very easy to treat with modern medicine (with simple modern rehydration 99% recover).

Its sounds like he’s been pretty sick. Sorry to hear about that.

All three hospitals have discharged him with only limited advice. He is not in the hospital currently but complains that the pains get worse and worse.


Never underestimate the power and knowledge of modern medicine.

Maybe he should see his primary care Dr. or try to go to a Hepatitis specialist. Best wishes to you & your friend. :frowning:

Thank you, Sunshine. I don’t know what to do. He just told me that he might go back to one of the hospitals tomorrow.
He has some other medical problems, but the most recent addition is that earlier today he tried to go into the nieghbors front door and forgot where his own bathroom was.
His insurance won’t cover an infectious disease doctor. Last I heard, it is around $600 per visit.
thank you for your encouragement everyone. God bless you in the name of Jesus.


Go take your religious insensitivity elsewhere.

You contract Cholera by consuming food or water contaiminated with fecal matter. So I ask again, do you have good reason to believe your friend has been eating food or drinking water in an area with extremely poor sanitation; has he been, say, in a poor region of Africa, or a warzone? Is he homeless or living without running water?

I’m trying to figure out why you picked Cholera out of the hat that contains every disease that causes severe diarrea.

Probably the “rice-watery diarrhea” part. From my ignorant layman’s perspective, cholera is the only thing I’ve read of as having that specific aspect due to cells sloughing off into the watery diarrhea. I imagine there are probably other causes of diarrhea that cause the same thing (or even that diarrhea itself can cause it) but I’ve never heard of any.

uh… Typhoid. Dysentery. Botulism poisoning. Ruptured appendix. Gastroenteritis. Crohn’s Disease. IBS.

Seriously? You go from “severe diarrhea” immediately to “a disease which is virtually eliminated in the United States.”?

I don’t, no. All I’m saying is, that specific term - diarrhea that looks like rice-rinsing water (water with bits in it that look like rice “husks”) - is one I’ve only heard in descriptions of cholera. Like I said, my conclusion then becomes that it’s not a phenomenon specific to only cholera, but I’m really just making a conjecture on why the op might link the two.

For the record, because I’m interested in this kind of thing, are you saying that the diseases/conditions you listed have “rice-watery diarrhea” as a common symptom? (I’m assuming there’s a more scientific term for it, which I’d also be interested in learning, if you know it.)

The OP probably picked Cholera because often times, simple diseases that have been eliminated are overlooked. Cholera, as mentioned, is not hard for the body to fight off by itself, PROVIDED the patient can replace the fluids as rapidly as they are loss, the body can cure itself. Again, it’s the dehydration in Cholera that is deadly.

For instance, a few years back a man from Chicago, died from Lassa Fever, it took them over a week to ask this black man who spoke with an English accent, if he’d been to Africa lately. Indeed he just got back from Ghana, and was born there.

So you can see someone should’ve said, “A black guy in Chicago speaking with an English accent?” I wonder if he ISN’T from the USA. And then asked where he was from? That would’ve got treatment to him much sooner. It should’ve been obvious but no one caught it. Now would he have died from Lassa Fever if treated earlier? Who knows?

Often when you have a chronic illness like Hep C doctors are quick to write all your problems off to that one chronic illness. And while I’d agree it’s probably a cause of the issues, you simply have to look at all the options.

Your friend should go to an ER- he has a new symptom that needs investigation and treatment.Urgently.

Going by your posts, he has recently become confused and disorientated, has a history of liver disease and recent severe diarrhoea- this is NOT a good combo.

This confusion could be hepatic encephalopathy or a severe electrolyte imbalance such as would be caused by severe hyponatraemia or a septic delirium due to infection. None of these are good.

People who are unwell and who have new onset altered mental status should not stay at home, especially if they are home alone.

Forget about internet diagnosis of possible rare and/or tropical diseases- help your friend gets the care he needs now.

IAAD- my opinion is that this guy needs to seek real-life urgent medical help because his symptoms appear to be evolving and worsening.

Dude, get your buddy to the hospital. This is “Dr. House” territory, not “WebMD” territory. Someone with undedicated liver disease like that can have massive problems that people like us have never even heard of.

Anyway, it’s almost certainly not cholera. It could be something like giardia, which is present in the United States and can become very unpleasant. Basically, it makes you poop like you are pissing…just massive quantities, gallons and gallons, and makes you feel like there are live snakes in your stomach. In my experience, it takes giardia a while to get that bad- chances are you will have had some mild earlier attacks that seem to resolve themselves at some point in the past. Anyway, giardia sucks. When I had it I lost 10 lb. in a couple of weeks.

Your friend needs to keep hydrated- read up on oral rehydration therapy. Pedialyte and the like are probably best. Broth is another good option, or homemade rehydration fluid. Stay away from caffeine and dairy. People with diahrea may benefit from the BRAT diet or one of it’s variations.

Thank you all for your advice. He checked back into the first hospital. His doctor made him when she heard of the memory mix-ups.
Hopefully they’ll be able to do something soon.

How in god’s green earth have they not done a stool culture in 15 weeks?

Forget the altered mental status, having diarrhea for 15 weeks is enough cause for concern, though if it is infectious in nature it is probably a parasite. A bacterial or viral GI infection would have resolved by now.

Hep C can cause abdominal pain, as well as skin irritation. If I was his doc I’d be very interested to see his liver enzymes and CBC w/ diff at this point.

In either case, cholera it ain’t.