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A clinical trial in a field hospital in rural East Pakistan of an orally administered solution used in conjunction with intravenous fluid for the treatment of cholera in adults has demonstrated the efficacy of oral therapy. After initial intravenous rehydration, fluid balance in actively purging patients with cholera was adequately maintained in most patients, by the administration of an oral solution of drinking water containing sodium chloride, potassium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, and dextrose. It was found that 135 patients with cholera who received oral maintenance therapy required 70% less intravenous fluid than a similar group of 135 treated at the same rural treatment center in a previous epidemic. This treatment regimen has now become routine at our field hospital.
The Pakistan-SEATO Cholera Research Laboratory is a part of the SEATO Cholera Research Program and is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of State; the National Institutes of Health and the National Communicable Disease Center of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and by the Governments of Pakistan, United Kingdom, and other SEATO nations. The NIH Cholera Advisory Committee co-ordinates the research program.