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Cholera, acute infectious disease involving the small intestine, characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, muscular cramps, and severe loss of body fluid. The disease is caused by a toxin produced by the bacillus Vibrio choleras and is spread by ingestion of water and of foods contaminated by the excrement of infected persons. Cholera can be fatal if untreated. Outbreaks still occur in regions of Africa and Asia where sanitation is poor.

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