Norman Howard-Jones (1972) described the earlier treatment of cholera as follows: "In the whole of the history of therapeutics before the twentieth century there is no more grotesque chapter than that on the treatment of cholera, which is largely a form of benevolent homicide."

Modern therapy consists simply of replacing the lost water and salts. This may be done by intravenous therapy, or by oral administration in milder cases or as an adjunct to the intravenous therapy in more serious cases. This has greatly facilitated the treatment of diarrhea patients, especially in resource-poor countries. Thus cholera is essentially curable. Antibiotics play only a minor role, in that they may shorten the duration of disease and reduce the massive amounts of necessary fluid replacement.

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