You must log in or register to comment.

CrieDeCoeur t1_j67c8ae wrote

Cholera is one nasty and horrifyingly efficient disease. It basically causes all of the water and electrolytes to just empty out of your cells…through your ass. Up to 20 liters (~5 gallons) of diarrhea per day, which equates to 40 pounds of body weight.


insidiouslybleak t1_j67covn wrote

I really did NOT need to know that, but now I do. Thank you. My future self playing jeopardy will be grateful for this awful info.


Mick_86 t1_j67obah wrote

I recommend reading The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. It's the story of the 1854 London Cholera epidemic. This was back when scientists laughed at the idea that germs caused disease.


throwawayforj0b t1_j68nqp9 wrote

Is that the one where they realized it was coming from a single well?


series_hybrid t1_j68qvw1 wrote

There had been a home with a septic pit in the basement. When the road was widened by the government, that house was demoed like many others.

Then, someone decided to install a public water well in a certain intersection, near the old cesspit.

There was a water table that was refreshed by rain up in the hills. edit: a water table is a layer of sand with a layer of clay under it. Rain percolates down through the soil and hits the clay, then spreads out sideways to make a flat "table" of water. Digging a well is best done near a river, but not too close.

The sun caused tides once a day on the Thames River, and once a month when the moon was on the same side of the Earth as the sun, the double tide makes the Thames water level higher.

Under the right conditions, the water table flows back towards the land, instead of flowing from the land to the river. It flowed from the abandoned cesspit towards the well.


throwawayforj0b t1_j68r6en wrote

I wasn't aware of the hydrological reasons for it, very interesting!


series_hybrid t1_j68znlo wrote

It's been a while, I may have gotten some of the details wrong.


Jaggedmallard26 t1_j68u031 wrote

I quite like the style of this comment, just various events that come together at the end.


series_hybrid t1_j6d03hn wrote

Thanks. I try to present interesting stories in the most compelling way possible.


foxorhedgehog t1_j69l2bc wrote

There is a replica of that pump at the original location. My friend, who is an epidemiologist, sent me a picture of it recently.


throwawayforj0b t1_j69pael wrote

It's one of the earliest stories of epidemiology. My favorite tidbit is that there was one cluster in a rich area of town away from the well that they couldn't explain at first (and made it harder to track down the source). They found out there was a rich woman who had a servant retrieving water from the bad well 'because it tastes sweeter'.


insidiouslybleak t1_j67px15 wrote

And here we are again - full circle. Back to accepting truly appalling levels of mortality as the normal price of doing business. I’m not ‘pragmatic’ or mercenary enough to just accept that.


V6Ga t1_j67f555 wrote

The number one cause of death in the world is diarrhea.

EDIT: further research on this has led me to believe that I read a stat on the number one cause of death for children. Also, as a happy fact, access to safe drinking water has made some astonishing gains in the last 30 years.


mike117 t1_j687ebo wrote

Got a source for that? Not that I don’t believe you I’m just surprised it’s above stuff like heart attacks or war.


V6Ga t1_j68asrk wrote

I think if you search around you will find you are correct! Random results of chasing after the answer showed me some stuff!

Clearly the work done in getting safe water has been way more effective than I was paying attention to. My statement was correct at one point, IIRC. It stuck with me, and you asking made me check! I may have read a statistic on causes of death of children. Either way, I am glad you asked!

War has always been pretty ineffective at killing people, though the people it kills are the engines that drove countries, historically: young males. And the concomitant civil unrest causes serious excess deaths. The Iraq war "only" killed 4500 US troops, and 15,000 Iraqi forces, but total excess deaths number as high as 1 million.

WWI had total military deaths at 10 million, but the resultant spread of Spanish flu caused at least 50 million deaths, and maybe as much as 100 million, in a world population of 1.5 billion.

Epidemics were the only truly effective killers, outside of China, which has had some insanely deadly civil wars, but the big one, The Taiping Rebellion, killed most people from the resultant famine from loss of central government control over irrigation and flood control. (30 million deaths out of a population of 450 million.)

Justinian's Plague,

>The Justinian plague in the sixth century and is estimated to have killed between 30 and 50 million people—about half the world's population at that time—as it spread across Asia, North Africa, Arabia, and Europe.

Black Death >The Black Death was the second great natural disaster to strike Europe during the Late Middle Ages (the first one being the Great Famine of 1315–1317) and is estimated to have killed 30 percent to 60 percent of the European population, as well as about one-third of the population of the Middle East.[14][15][16] The plague might have reduced the world population from c. 475 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century

and Spanish Flu all killed a significant percentage of the world's population.

Of course the 20th century managed to make men capable to serious mechanized death. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all killed a serious percentage of their own countries populations.

TL;DR Justinian's Plague killed half the world's population!


Kuris t1_j6fuegt wrote

Germs are no joke! As a grown ass man, a scrape on my elbow has put me in the hospital for 5 days now.

Without access to modern medicine (and antibiotics in particular) this shit would've killed me!

That is scary, scary stuff.


arkstfan t1_j6a4vm9 wrote

Arkansas Bioscience Institute a partnership of the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University, UA Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital have been working on a vaccine for some common causes of diarrhea. Their work has been promising enough to get some international funding.

Didn’t realize how big a deal it was until reading about it.


cubixjuice t1_j67d1o2 wrote

It's an interesting disease imo. Terrifying, yes, but still interesting. Makes diarrhea that looks like lentil soup 😋


insidiouslybleak t1_j67fit8 wrote

I wish that I lived in the kind of 21st century where I didn’t need to know anything at all about any of these diseases. I’m old, I’m vaccinated, I’m old enough to remember when these were historical problems that plagued humanity that had been solved. But here we are - polio in NY, measles in Ohio, that kid who died the most gruesome death imaginable from tetanus a few years ago in Oregon, pertussis in Alberta, drug resistant everything - I want my futuristic advanced civilization back. We as a species fuck up everything so badly and I hate it.


Yurekuu t1_j67nmyg wrote

Well, I got curious about the tetanus case so I just wanted to let you know the boy didn't die. He recovered completely, though he suffered for two months, and his parents still refused to vaccinate him after.


insidiouslybleak t1_j67pgla wrote

Oh, that poor kid. I can’t imagine the pain. Please tell me his parents have lost custody.


NessyComeHome t1_j680kmh wrote

Cholera was never a historical problem. It was never close to being eradicated. You're having nostalgia for a past that never existed.

Even the cholera vaccine used in the US isn't on par with what we, or maybe I should say I, think about when we think about vaccines. 85% protection for first 6 months, drops to 62% to 50% protection between 6 months and two years. After 2 years it drops below 50%.

While we humans have eradicated smallpox, we arn't anywhere close to doing that for any other disease.. which sucks, because even with 50% protection after two years, that's a lot of lives saved.


rsh056 t1_j68w5lq wrote

I believe we're pretty close to eradicating guinea worm. And I think we're not that far off on polio either?

Regardless, even with thorough vaccination, it's tough to eliminate most diseases. All the more important to keep your up to date, since they'll still be out there!


TitaniumDreads t1_j67wedl wrote

i like how we spent centuries at the mercy of measles and once we defeated it a handful of ding dongs took the side of measles


valeyard89 t1_j67lv9n wrote

You have died of dysentery


coldoldgold t1_j6ce5nb wrote

The river is 0.8 feet deep. Would you like to:

A) Ford the river

B) Caulk the wagon and float it

C) Take a ferry


ThandiGhandi t1_j68wfq6 wrote

Doctor’s don’t want you to know how this woman lost 40 pounds in just one day


sweet-n-sombre t1_j67gd31 wrote

Survival rate?

Is anyone crazy enough to use it for weight loss..


LegitPancak3 t1_j68obco wrote

As long as you’re constantly being given rehydration fluids with electrolytes, and maybe IV saline if it gets bad, you’re basically guaranteed to survive.
If you’re not being given constant fluids though, you have a 1 in 4, to sometimes 1 in 2 chance of dying of dehydration.


Jaggedmallard26 t1_j68u6nz wrote

You'll lose weight like you do any severe illness but the 40 pounds of body weight is pure water weight, not fat cells being flushed.


sweet-n-sombre t1_j68wmdw wrote

Surely cells being dehydrated would cause quite a few of them to die and flush out ?

Where is the water coming from? Blood weighs around 5kg (10 pounds), so surely body cells are being squeezed of fluid too, I'd imagine.


RavenholdIV t1_j699xdg wrote

Your body has a lot of water in it, and not just in the blood. You lose weight by losing the water. Some cells may die, but fat cells are really stubborn, and losing fat takes time that cholera just won't give you. You'll end up gaining most of the weight back once you get over it because you'll (hopefully) stay hydrated.


Mynamethisisnot t1_j69f3kk wrote

If I drink enough water can one survive? Not only water but the electrolytes too


CrieDeCoeur t1_j69oyvb wrote

Hydration + electrolyte therapy are, I think, pretty much the only things that will help. Cholera is a bacteria, not a virus, and can’t be treated with meds. So the idea is to keep a patient hydrated enough to ride out the infection (which lasts about a week) before it kills them. You wouldn’t be able to drink enough fluids fast enough to stay ahead of the violent diarrhea, so IV would be critical.


18121812 t1_j6asvvg wrote

>Cholera is a bacteria, not a virus, and can’t be treated with meds.

Because cholera is a bacteria, that means it CAN be treated with antibiotics. It is generally not though, as if you get water and electrolytes, you generally get over it fairly quick. Antibiotics won't shorten the length much, and can cause side effects. Only severe cases get antibiotics.


ODSTsRule t1_j67op8v wrote

And here I was thinking it was just a form of mildly more potent diarrhea.... diareha... shitting yourself.


LetDuncanDie t1_j66u021 wrote

Those numbers are two decimal places larger than what I was expecting. That's fucked.


Sabertooth767 t1_j6890oc wrote

Cholera is not hard to prevent with basic sanitation, but flair-ups can be absolutely devastating. A key reason for it's effectiveness is that it turns the cure into poison: contaminated water causes diarrhea, which causes dehydration so the sick drink more contaminated water, repeat until death. In a situation like Haiti where there simply isn't enough safe water, the disease runs rampant.


black_brook t1_j67aw00 wrote

How is it that the UN peacekeepers had cholera?


StuartGotz t1_j67gf16 wrote

They were from Nepal, where cholera outbreaks still happen yearly.


p314159i t1_j67qgee wrote

They should probably get on that before they try to fix problems in Haiti, both in the sense that it is bad for Haiti, but also because it is unfair to Nepal that they have to help Haiti when they have their own problems. Globalism is a shit idea.


NessyComeHome t1_j680xlk wrote

UN peacekeepers are made up of military members of nations that are in the UN.

So it wasn't Nepal diverting resources for the help of Haiti. It was the UN using their peacekeeping force in a humanitarian operation.


TitaniumDreads t1_j67wkyq wrote

when there is a horrific earthquake that kills 100,000 people you kinda have to take any help you can get.


KeepAwaySynonym t1_j6811wl wrote

If you feel globalism is shit, I take it you only buy locally or regionally sourced goods, or at least go through trying to find locally / regionally sources food, and other items before partcimmicipating in a system that is based on globalism. And are also opposed to companies selling goods or services outside of your country?


WR810 t1_j68x8ur wrote

Globalism is also a force for global peace. Nations that trade are far less likely to go to war.


tutti139 t1_j683hs5 wrote

In Finland most people only eat Finnish produce/meat aslong as it is obtainable here.

So yes.


Veerand t1_j68m8ha wrote

Ah, yes, the country that drinks most coffee in the world. Obviously all of it was grown in Finland


dirty_cuban t1_j69bo8l wrote

Every country has their own problems they need to work on. Your suggestion would be that no one can help because no country is problem free. There’s a shit idea here, but it’s not globalism.


Wideawakedup t1_j6a594e wrote

It’s like that movie medicine man with Sean Connery. Some new doctor comes to the Amazon and he goes off on them about being in quarantine and how the common cold can wipe out the whole community.


V6Ga t1_j67g5yr wrote

To give the cholera numbers some place among the horrifying 2010 Haiti earthquake and its aftermath, the earthquake killed 100,000 people on the day, and up to 300,000 people in the resultant chaos (presumably the cholera outbreak was part of that larger number.)

The rotation of the earth changed measurably from the effects of the earthquake as well.

Japan 3/11 earthquake killed "only" 18,000. Civil defense readiness, and earthquake and tsunami hardened infrastructure made a huge difference, as it is clear that the tsunami would have done far more damage without those two factors.

The rotation of the earth changed measurably from the Japanese earthquake as well. Calculations at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory determined that the Earth's rotation was changed by the earthquake to the point where the days are now 1.8 microseconds shorter.

Another example: the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami stills hold the modern title at 227,898 on the day, and 275,000 overall, because there was no civil defense readiness, or tsunami hardening at all.

A tragic story, well-known in Hawaii, is that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii knew Boxing Day Tsunami was going to cause the damage it did, because they measured it in their monitoring buoys in the Pacific (!), but had no communication infrastructure to get the word to those impacted. All Hawaii boaters dear friends, even if they err to overcautious sometimes. We're happier out on the boat than on land watching our marinas get destroyed


hazpat t1_j68hn2j wrote

That was a bit of a tangent


huntimir151 t1_j68qecg wrote

Still much better than your comment though!


hazpat t1_j68uetm wrote

Better at what?


huntimir151 t1_j68wz8u wrote

Providing information while also not being a needlessly rude asshole!


hazpat t1_j68xr68 wrote



huntimir151 t1_j68yavl wrote

Yep, that reply fits.


hazpat t1_j68yrv9 wrote

Fits what?


Happy_Elli t1_j66yp5e wrote

Peacekeepers shat in a river and contaminated it?


WillowWispFlame t1_j6759dy wrote

According to an article, it was a sewage leak from a camp housing infected peacekeepers.


Veragoot t1_j66o76w wrote

Damn dude. They must feel like shit.


theworkinglad OP t1_j66q6zq wrote

I think it took a while for the UN to admit responsibility. Can’t imagine how it’d feel as one of those peacekeepers.


Dimako98 t1_j66xwyi wrote

They probably didn't care. They were busy raping their way through Haiti at the time.


dabigua t1_j67l3ko wrote

Those famous Nepalese rapists

EDIT: Cholera was from Nepalese soldiers. Child rape/ sex slavery was from from Sri Lankans, Gabonese and soldiers from Burundi. Fuck everything about this.


TitaniumDreads t1_j67wvw3 wrote

in Haiti i think it was the sri lankans running the child sex prostitution rings.


dabigua t1_j6a74fp wrote

I did not know that. I seem to recall that epidemiologists had traced the cholera outbreak to a company of Nepalese soldiers serving as UN forces.

I Googled your information. Incredibly bleak.


TitaniumDreads t1_j6adinq wrote

To me, the bleakest thing is that they caught them fucking 7 year olds and most of them faced zero punishment. They just got sent back to sri lanka.


Hewholooksskyward t1_j67iemc wrote

The problem is that no one wants to get stuck on peacekeeping duty, so it ends up being mostly populated by 3rd world soldiers whose nations need the stipend money. Needless to say, their healthcare and legal systems are often less than stellar.


Llewop-Ekim t1_j6796dr wrote

I see you too read AskReddit today


sucobe t1_j6artyu wrote

Yep. Went from askreddit to here.


TheParisCommune1871 t1_j68nckn wrote

UN “Peacekeepers” went around raping A LOT of Haitian women and girls too.


soolkyut t1_j66wmdw wrote

Thanks a lot nepal


theworkinglad OP t1_j66xt54 wrote

idk if we should blame the WHOLE NATION of nepal for this one


Crawdaddy1911 t1_j68b9a6 wrote

Hi, we're from the United Nations, and we're here to help.


ReddJudicata t1_j68e4as wrote

Don’t forget the massive corruption!


Crawdaddy1911 t1_j68hstw wrote

I believe the corruption is a given. But don't worry, there's no extra charge for it. They were there to spread Cholera, the rest is free.


Coins_N_Collectables t1_j6alr9p wrote

Went there on a mission trip in 2015. The poverty was unlike anything I could have imagined. Trash lined the streets in the main city Port au Prince in piles 3-6 feet high that stretched for like a mile. People would climb the mountains of trash to get to the ramshackle huts on either side. Tiny living spaces made of tin, porta potty doors, palm fronds, and whatever else people could find. Kids were playing in open sewers with pigs. It was horrific.

On our last day, we went to a children’s hospital and that just broke me completely. Kids were lying in soiled beds on rusty cots in a room that was easily 95 degrees. Many of them cryed out for attention or in pain but were completely ignored and alone. My mom picked up a 7 month old (an orphan) and held it and rocked it back and forth until it stopped crying. She wept for hours when we had to leave. That particular baby passed away roughly a month later (of what, I don’t know). Kids there were still dying of things like dysentery or other largely curable diseases in the US. It was absolutely the most eye opening experience of my life and made me purse a career in healthcare. I’ve never felt more helpless or worthless in my entire life, as myself and the remainder of my group simply weren’t equipped to give the proper aid at that hospital. I decided I would never go on another trip like that again if I didn’t have a useful skill to bring with me. I am now 1 year away from being an eye doctor and have plans to return to Haiti and perform eye exams and give donated pairs of glasses.

If you have a useful skill to contribute, the country is still not fully recovered and there is still a need. Please please consider offering your skills in some way if you are able!


KingDarius89 t1_j6amfop wrote old were you? That's really not something a kid should be exposed to. It would be difficult enough for an adult.

Congratulations, by the way. B


Coins_N_Collectables t1_j6anzjr wrote

I was 17 or 18 I want to say. I forget what month we went also so it very well could have been early 2016. I also don’t feel like there is an age that is right or wrong to be exposed to that stuff. Many people much younger have to live that every day. It’s sad to see, sure, but that is the harsh side of life and I feel being exposed to it made me take a lot less for granted and helped me to mature a lot.


darkcvrchak t1_j68j2bi wrote

Not only that, they actively tried to cover it up


JugglinB t1_j67wngc wrote

Hmmm... I was there a few weeks after the Earthquake, and cholera was one of the biggest worries about health care in the camps. There's even an interview with me by the AP where I say this - months before the October outbreak.

So no - I don't think it was entirely UN peacekeepers that did this. It was expected due to the quality of sanitation and water supply in the overcrowded camps.


bullwinkle8088 t1_j68ozdm wrote

You don't think, but it is fairly evident from actual studies the outbreak indeed originated at the peacekeeping base. The UN itself has accepted responsibility for the outbreak.

They had been complaining of it before the earthquake, and even investigating the same source. The breakdown of conditions after the quake allowed it to grow in scale.

tl;dr: Genetic analysis of the Cholera strain matched it with the strain found in Nepal.


JugglinB t1_j69kwog wrote

But it was expected. Someone somewhere was going to bring cholera into the camp, and when it happened it would be huge. It was one of the biggest worries that we (on the ground at the time) had.

Cholera was going to happen. The source for it unknown, but it was going to happen. That the UN brought it in is almost a mute point. Thousands of humanitarian workers from all over the globe swamped in. Some helpful, some (and I'll name one here - Scientology) not so much! (I can add details here if needed about planes carrying relief aid being delayed whilst they flew in auditors if needed). Again, once more with feeling - it was going to happen!

EDIT:. Loving the downvotes from people who weren't there, and probably have never worked in humanitarian missions anywhere - whilst I've worked all over the world. I'm sure you all know far more than me about it!

(Heads for the hills as this WILL bring in downvote avalanche - but seriously? I have 20 years experience in this... Before you downvote consider how much experience do YOU have in this area?)


KingDarius89 t1_j6amtbe wrote

I largely down voted you for the condescending edit.


JugglinB t1_j6ann2d wrote

Fair enough. But hopefully you can see that being downvoted by people who read one article and think that they know everything is also somewhat daft?


manowtf t1_j68l4e8 wrote

To be really accurate, surely the issue is the lack of clean drinking water that caused this?


FNAKC t1_j68p6kz wrote

It didn't help, call it a compounding factor.

Say you're driving and have a mild heart attack and crash. You bleed out, the heart attack alone wouldn't have killed you, but it cause the crash that made you bleed out.


manowtf t1_j68qajb wrote

That's not a valid comparison. Cholera is caused by ingesting contaminated water mainly or food. It's not spread by human contact.


FNAKC t1_j68qofn wrote

It was brought to the environment by people, sewage from a UN Camp contaminated a river upstream of a town. The locals had no reason to suspect their river water was no longer safe.


manowtf t1_j68r0s1 wrote

Hence why I said the cause is a lack of clean water. It child just as readily have been caused by animal waste etc. If you don't ensure the safety of your water supply then it's inevitable.


FNAKC t1_j68rswf wrote

It doesn't spontaneously appear! The contamination was brought to the island by humans.

A pile of garbage doesn't birth mice and rats.


HogfishMaximus t1_j697kx0 wrote

The UN peace keepers also diddled many children, and had a preference for little boys! I won’t go into where these folks came from or their religion.


jar1967 t1_j69eoxp wrote

Colora originated in India and the British introduced to the world


RigbyRoadIce t1_j6aw3fd wrote

So... how did they actually introduce it? The article says sewage was sent to Haiti from the UN and then later says it was sewage from the UN camp. Was there a carrier? Someone that wasn't showing symptoms until they got there? Sewage from a UN boat/plane sent from a different region?


sin-and-love t1_j6ahdkg wrote

Golly gee, thaaaaat's Europeans! [laugh track]


seeking_good_life t1_j6albm1 wrote

It would have killed them without any "UN peacekeepers". Get your facts straight.


critfist t1_j67cbms wrote

Hopefully there's more in the way of hygiene for members in the future.


Cuntplainer t1_j677x9j wrote


Hi, we're the UN and we're here to help...


[deleted] t1_j67j505 wrote

No good deed goes un punished


EnvironmentalGuest70 t1_j682ycn wrote

“We’re from the government and we’re here to help!”


Mitthrawnuruo t1_j68erg6 wrote

There scares words in the English Language.

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”


fulthrottlejazzhands t1_j683kfq wrote

Why on earth would UN reintroduce cholera to stop earthquakes?


jB_real t1_j67ryrt wrote

Cholera really seems like en environmental-type disease. Was it really brought on by UN peacekeepers?

More at 11. Sometime in 2012


monkeypox_69 t1_j67vriz wrote

We're from the government and we're here to help you.


Writerro t1_j680jst wrote

Come on, they had good intentions. And what you write sounds like weird scare about help from organisations like UN or governments, lol.


Medic7002 t1_j685xue wrote

American Indians know ALL about good intent.


[deleted] t1_j66petk wrote



[deleted] t1_j66q2bc wrote