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Arch Hellen Med, 37(6), November-December 2019, 830-834


Cholera in the Corpus Hippocraticum

E.E. Mazokopakis
Department of Internal Medicine, Naval Hospital of Crete, Souda, Chania, Department of Theology,
School of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

The medical term "cholera" appears for the first time in the Corpus Hippocraticum, where it was used to describe a sporadic acute disease of the digestive system due to dietary aberrations (e.g., polyphagia, excessive wine drinking, etc.) occuring mainly during the summer. It is described as being manifested either by profuse diarrhea and vomiting ("wet cholera"), or without diarrhea and vomiting, but with milder gastrointestinal symptoms ("dry cholera"), and as not usually leading to death. In modern medicine, the term "cholera" applies to an epidemic acute diarrheal disease due to intestinal damage by the enterotoxin produced by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae (O1 and O139 serogroups). This disease is transmitted via the consumption of contaminated water or food, shows seasonal distribution and, without therapy, usually leads to death. In both descriptions, cholera is a food-borne disease with gastrointestinal manifestations.

Key words: Cholera, Corpus Hippocraticum, Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis, Vibrio cholerae, Vomiting.

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