Letter | Published:

Antagonism of Cholera Enterotoxin by Anti-inflammatory Agents in the Rat

Abstract

THE treatment of cholera by intravenous fluids and electrolytes is well established and, if instituted before dehydration and shock are irreversible, can completely protect the patient. But in times of large-scale outbreaks neither the personnel nor material (approximately 10–20 l. per patient) is usually available1. Trials of oral fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy have been effective because the absorption of salts, water and carbohydrates are unimpaired by such treatment2–4. This greatly simplifies treatment, but again limitation in the availability of materials and personnel may not allow treatment of all victims during severe epidemics. Since both these methods do not treat the severe diarrhoea but only attempt to replace fluid and electrolyte losses throughout the period (3–5 days) of diarrhoea, the patient is still debilitated and unable to carry on normal activities. A drug which could be given orally to reverse the massive loss of fluid and electrolytes by antagonizing the effect of cholera enterotoxin on secretory mechanisms of the small intestine has been suggested as a rational means to attack cholera with the least number of trained people and equipment5–7.

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